Spoilers ahead for the April 6 episode of NCIS, called “Gut Punch.”
NCIS isn’t backing off from the twist that saw Gibbs get himself indefinitely suspended after beating a man half to death, and he used his time off from work to work on his boat, feed his dog, and spill the whole damning story to a reporter (played by Mark Harmon’s real-life wife Pam Dawber) to the point that Vance dropped by for a visit to tell Gibbs that he’s more or less on his own in the aftermath.
Gibbs spilled the details of the case that got him suspended (complete with confession) to Pam Dawber’s Marcie not long after the episode made it clear that nobody at NCIS was to speak to the press, and he really only opened up to her after she showed some familiarity with boat engines. As one does.
The newspaper story was seemingly the last straw for Vance, who had been willing to go the extra mile to help Gibbs out of his mess up until this point, if only Gibbs had showed any inclination to recover his career. In the final scene of “Gut Punch,” Vance told Gibbs:
I came here to tell you face-to-face, whatever comes of this story, whatever happens next, Gibbs, I can’t save you.
Now, if Gibbs spilling to the reporter and Vance telling Gibbs that he can’t save him from any repercussions had happened at pretty much any other point in NCIS’ run, I’d already be speculating about ways that NCIS could save Gibbs from this story and reinstate him at the head of his team within a few weeks.
Now, with Mark Harmon’s future on NCIS uncertain, and in fact no guarantee that NCIS will be renewed for Season 19, it’s actually possible that this could be NCIS setting up Gibbs’ departure without k!lling him off or sending him off to reunite with Jack.