'NCIS': Major Character Finally Returns in Season 16 Finale

NCIS' latest case brought Gibbs' personal life to the forefront, leading to a game-changing cliffhanger ending.

Spoilers ahead for NCIS Season 16 Episode 24 "Daughters"

The final episode of the season followed up the tense cliffhanger from last week in which Gibbs' (Mark Harmon) conversation with the team was interrupted by news that former FBI agent Tobias Fornell (Joe Spano) was in the hospital and he had to hurry.

The beginning of the finale filled in viewers on Fornell's daughter Emily (Juliette Angelo) being treated for an opioid overdose. Tobias seems in shock to see his daughter intubated and fighting for her life.

The doctor tells Tobias he must prepare himself for the worse, but the reality leads the private investigator to his breaking point, and he pulls a gun on the doctor demanding him to save Emily's life.

After Gibbs calms the situation down and the doctor agrees to not press charges, Bishop (Emily Wickersham) and Torres (Wilmer Valderrama) arrive to say Emily might have been drugged. During a trip home, Gibbs is visited by the ghost of his ex-wife Diane(Melinda McGraw) — who was also married to Fornell — and questions why he won't step up and help solve her daughter's case.

Gibbs then orders the team to get more information on the case — after Ducky justifies NCIS picking up the investigation — before he gets a 9-1-1 message from Fornell, but it is good news as Emily is awake and feeling much better.

The doctor announces she is one test away from being discharged when Tobias tells Gibbs the case is personal to him. He asks Gibbs to promise him to get the bad guys and that he wants to kill the people responsible when it comes to it.

The clues lead the team to a former pharmaceutical rep's apartment, but they arrive to find the man dead, and Emily on drugs in the bathtub.

Emily claims she didn't realize the man was in trouble or else she would have called for help. Tobias walks in and confronts her daughter for her behavior, but she runs away. After the realization the crime scene was staged leads to another suspect, Gibbs chooses to stay out of the interrogation room to confront Diane's ghost and get her to leave him alone.

Diane says she blames Gibbs for not being there for Tobias and Emily. She tells Gibbs he owes her family to get justice for her daughter, whether his badge allows him to do it or not. When the team is briefing Gibbs and Tobias about the dead dealer, Tobias hesitates says he has to find Emily and talk to her more.

Tobias actually arrived to a doctor's office — who turned out to be the next dealer on the case — with intentions to hurt him for getting his daughter hooked on the drugs. The doctor denies his involvement on the controversy, and assures that the drug dealers must be getting their drugs from somewhere else.

Later that night, Tobias visits Gibbs and breaks down about his daughter's downward spiral. He admits he wishes her mother would still be alive. Suddenly Tobias also sees Diane and she advises him to simply be there for Emily and stop trying to control her.

A twist on the case finds the hospital's pharmacist was the one who murdered the drug dealer, and who was supplying the pills. Gibbs questions the man and attempts to find the big supplier, the pharmacist warns him he will be a dead man if he tries to come after the mysterious new villain.

At the end of the episode, Gibbs realizes Diane's ghost was there to help him figure out he needs to feel the emotions behind his cases again and that will make him a better agent.

The episode left fans with a final shocker, however, when Gibbs looks up from his boat and finds Ziva (Cote de Pablo) in the room. She tells him that he's in danger.


The shocked agent can only say "Ziva" before the episode ends.

Can you believe Ziva is really back? NCIS will return for new episodes in fall 2019 on CBS.