NCIS loves Christmas. We already did a post breaking down the number of episodes that are based around Thanksgiving (hint: there's a lot), but we wanted to do something a little bit different for Xmas, so we decided to pick a single episode that would perfect to watch after you've opened your gifts.
In our estimation, the ideal NCIS Christmas episode is "Silent Night." The season 6 episode is set during the week of Christmas (naturally), and follows the team as they investigate the disappearance of a man they thought dead for nearly two decades. It's a great premise for a regular NCIS episode, but the holiday setting really makes the mystery pop.
"Silent Night" is a standout Christmas episode from season 6
It helps that the episode really takes advantage of the Christmas setting. The episode features a delivery guy dressed as Santa Claus, as well as a charming sequence in which Vance (Rocky Carroll) and Ziva (Cote de Pablo) look through a Toys for Tots box and reminiscence on the toys they had as children.
The case unfolds in characteristically methodical fashion, with Gibbs (Mark Harmon) and the team piecing together what really happened when the man they're pursuing was presumed dead. The thing that makes "Silent Night" fun, and what separates NCIS from most other procedurals, is the character details in between the collecting of evidence.
There's a great scene in which Ducky (David McCallum) tells Abby (Pauley Perrette) about the Mallard family Christmas traditions. The traditions apparently date back to the 1850s. It's bittersweet seeing Ducky in action, since David McCallum recently passed, but it's a reminder of how charming he was whenever he was onscreen.
"Silent Night" features the classic NCIS lineup
Other NCIS Christmas episodes are set during December, sure, but "Silent Night" is unique in that it sees the NCIS team struggle with their desire to spend time with loved ones and celebrate Christmas while being forced to work on a case. They are working during the Christmas party, which makes their frustration very relatable.
Ultimately, everything works out. Gibbs gets his man, and the team get together to spread holiday cheer and to watch It's a Wonderful Life (1946) on TV.
"Silent Night" has everything one could hope for in an NCIS episode, from the banter to the brutal crimes to the classic lineup of characters that we still miss! You can't go wrong.