Everyone knows you can never reach the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. As it turns out, everyone is wrong. This episode was just such a pot of gold -- before we had even written a word. The idea of meeting another one of Gibbs' ex-wives is juicy enough (hat tip, GG). Having it be Fornell's ex-wife, too? Puh-lease.
This is an episode of discovery for long-time viewers of the show. It was also an episode of discovery for us. If you haven't seen something on screen, then technically, it hasn't happened. Yes, the writers have an informal sense of what we believe our characters' histories to be…but it is only informal until committed to film (or what passes for film these days). In any case, by meeting the prior Mrs. Gibbs, we were now going to commit a very important portion of Gibbs' emotional history to stone. We needed to get it right. More than that…we needed to get it awesome.
As we began outlining the script, however, it quickly became apparent that we were starting with awesome. So basically, from a neurotic writer's POV, it was only downhill from there... But we persevered. Everyone who watches the show knows that Shannon was Gibbs' One True Love. He may have lost her, but he never let go. Our breakthrough moment in writing the story was when we realized that Diane Sterling felt the same way about Gibbs. It was also a breakthrough moment for Gibbs himself.
Of course, the true pot of gold here isn't the script, it's the actors who breathe life into the pages. Joe Spano-as-Fornell, as usual, electrified the stage. Newcomer (to us) Melinda McGraw was equally captivating playing Gibbs' ex. She had no small shoes to fill…and she filled them more than we every dared to hope. But a special kudos to Mark Harmon. The Shannon through-line for his character has been with us for a long time. Yet Mark managed, once again, to find those subtle nuances that not only keep our blood pumping…but our heart aching. We hope you enjoyed this episode as much as we enjoyed writing it. Now, if you'll excuse us…we're off to go rainbow hunting. Still half a season to go!
Steven D. Binder, Co-Executive Producer
Reed Steiner, Co-Executive Producer