Character types are not as simple as they seem to be, including for NCIS characters. Here is a look at their moral alignments according to D&D.
At first glance, the main characters of NCIS would seem to all be morally lawful or good and the criminals to be morally evil and/or chaotic according to Dungeons and Dragons’ moral alignments. For any well-written character, alignments are not as simple as law enforcement being, well, lawful, or criminals being evil.
The same is true for the main characters of NCIS. Some of the characters are actually more neutral than good or lawful, which can be seen when looking at an individual character’s actions and personalities alongside their chosen livelihood. Here are the D&D moral alignments of the NCIS main characters.
Leon Vance – Lawful Neutral
Leon Vance is the Director of NCIS. Because he is the director, he has to represent the department and play politics when needed. Because of both of these parts of his job, he is the one who is primarily held accountable for his subordinates’ actions.
Because Vance is held accountable for his subordinates, he has to maintain and enforce the “laws” of NCIS, especially when Gibbs and his team go rogue. However, Vance is also more neutral because, at times, he is willing to bend the rules in order to help himself, his family, and his agents.
Ellie Bishop – Chaotic Good
Special Agent Ellie Bishop, while a law-abiding citizen working in law enforcement, falls more on the chaotic side because of her methods of solving puzzles and pondering evidence in cases. She is known for sitting on the floor and eating junk food while brainstorming. This behavior initially threw off her NCIS team when they first met her, but now they accept it as part of her process.
Ellie is also good at heart. She loves her friends and family and is not afraid to show it. She did have a storyline in which she sought out revenge for her recently-deceased significant other, Qasim Nasir, but she still is overall good because she seeks to help people through her jobs at the NSA and NCIS.
Tim McGee – Lawful Good
Tim McGee is probably the only main character who can be considered truly lawful good. He does have a playful side as he took pleasure in pranking Tony when they still worked together. Early on, he also would assist in cases, often traveling from the Bethesda field office to do so. He also did some morally ambiguous things such as investigate a crime involving his sister on his own without telling the team.
Tim later regretted these morally ambiguous deeds, learned from them and has not repeated them. Tim is lawful good because, in spite of his occasional moral ambiguity, he generally upholds the rules, procedures, and laws he is expected to follow as an NCIS agent.
Abby Sciuto – Chaotic Good
Abby Sciuto, somewhat like Ellie, is a law-abiding citizen who technically works in law enforcement but as a forensic specialist. Abby very much has her own code of being which does not always fall in line with NCIS’s procedures, hence former NCIS director Jenny Shepard trying, and failing, to require Abby to follow a more professional dress code rather than her normal goth attire.
Abby also cares deeply about her teammates and often displays a lot of concern and high levels of distress whenever she learned of her teammates being in danger. Her goodness carries over into her departure as well by founding a charity that helps the homeless in honor of the late Clayton Reeves and his mother.
Jimmy Palmer – Neutral Good
Jimmy Palmer is generally a very kind-hearted Medical Examiner, who has picked up a lot of habits from Ducky, including talking to the dead while performing autopsies on them. That kind of behavior seems chaotic and is chaotic, as discussed below in regards to Ducky.
While he treats his friends and family well, Jimmy does sometimes go against protocol, such as sleeping with Agent Michelle Lee while at work. Ironically, he ends the relationship because he feels used by her. He also at times speaks irreverently or out of turn, adding to the neutralness of his character.
Nick Torres – Chaotic Neutral
Nick Torres was first introduced as an undercover agent and initially struggled to adjust to working from behind a desk after being hired onto Gibbs’s team. He is very charismatic and is usually able to get a confession from a suspect when the other agents can’t.
Nick is sometimes willing to break rules, such as blowing his cover and compromising a mission to save his sister. This means that while he has some sense of morality because he works in law enforcement, he follows his own moral code rather than a bureaucratic code set by superiors.
Ziva David – Lawful Neutral
Ziva David generally follows the rule of law, whether it is dictated by Mossad or NCIS. However, she is also a trained assassin and therefore is not afraid to use extreme violence when needed. She conspired with Gibbs to murder her half-brother Ari Haswari and later on faked her own death in order to protect her family.
Ziva’s actions show that while she is lawful, she also is neutral because she will often use her own tactics to solve a case, protect herself, or protect the ones she cares about, hence her also being neutral.
Ducky – Chaotic Good
Ducky is similar to Ellie in that they both have a bit of madness involved in their methods. Ducky was the original Medical Examiner at the start of the series and was known for talking to the bodies that he was autopsying, as he claimed it helped him understand the cause of death and potentially the intent behind it.
Ducky acts as somewhat of a father figure to the younger agents of NCIS and was the only NCIS employee who followed through in taking time off to attend Jimmy’s destination wedding. He also took care of his elderly mother and her dogs, in spite of his dislike for the dogs, making him good as well as chaotic.
Tony DiNozzo – Chaotic Neutral
Tony DiNozzo was once a pillar in the NCIS agency. From the beginning of the series to his departure in season thirteen, he was the seniormost agent under Gibbs. He took his job seriously, especially when Gibbs was unable to lead, leaving Tony to take his place.
However, especially at the beginning of the series, Tony acts a lot out of self-interest. Furthermore, he takes pleasure in pranks and messing with agents such as Kate Todd and Tim McGee. Occasionally, his playful nature appears while in the field, making Tony more chaotic than McGee, who also has an affinity for pranks.
Leroy Jethro Gibbs – Lawful Neutral
Leroy Jethro Gibbs is the leader of the team. He has his own set of morals that he recites as his personal rules and passes on for his team to follow. He believes in following laws alongside his rules.
Gibbs rules have caused him to deviate from NCIS protocol and the law; whether it is seeking revenge on the man responsible for the death of his first wife and daughter, roughing up a suspect who harmed or threatened to harm one of his agents, or directly disobeying an NCIS director’s orders. His additional set of rules makes Gibbs a more neutral character than good, yet still lawful.
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