NCIS/Yankee White

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Yankee White
Season 1, Episode 1
Airdate September 23, 2003
Production Number 001
Written by Donald Bellisario,
Don McGill
Directed by Donald Bellisario

1x02 →
Hung Out to Dry
NCISSeason One

Yankee White is the first episode of the first season of NCIS.


Guest Starring: Alan Dale (NCIS Director Tom Morrow), Joe Spano (FBI Agent T.C. Fornell), Steve Bridges (President George W. Bush), Michael Calder (Secret Service Agent), Richard Anthony Crenna (Chief Steward), Dar Dixon (Captain Tom Bradstone), Scott Fishkind (Rish's Cameraman), Gregory Itzin (FBI Director), Asante Jones (Detective Andy Kochifis), Dwayne Macopson (Major Carl Pritchard), Michael Maize (Security Guard), Gerald McCullouch (FBI Agent), Doris E. McMillon (News Anchor), Jeremy Overstreet (Major Carl Pritchard), Jennifer Weston (Navy Medic), Michael Adler (), Robert Bagnell (), Gerry Becker (), Gerald Downey (), Gary Grubbs (), Dane Northcutt (), Lawrence Pressman ()


Plot Overview

While flying on Air Force One, the Navy officer responsible for carrying the briefcase with America's nuclear launch confirmation codes (more commonly known as the "nuclear football") dies. Agents Gibbs and DiNozzo fly to meet Air Force One along with NCIS medical examiner "Ducky" Mallard and manage to stay aboard the plane, keeping the FBI from taking over the crime scene before it can be examined. The only Secret Service agent remaining on the plane is Agent Caitlin Todd, who becomes ill during the flight.

It turns out that the football carrier was poisoned and Gibbs suspects that Agent Todd may have been poisoned as well until she reveals that she caught the flu from the usual football carrier, Commander Timothy Kerry, whom she had been dating. Kerry initially lived because of that flu bug, having missed work and requiring the football to be temporarily given to another carrier, but he dies later when he puts on a fresh uniform. After further investigation, it's discovered that they were both poisoned by an Al Qaeda sleeper cell operating out of a local dry cleaner known to be used by the military, by a form of contact poison dusted around the collars of their uniforms. Amid mild controversy over her fraternization with Commander Kerry, Agent Todd resigns from the Secret Service and is recruited by Gibbs to join his team at NCIS, with the caveat that if she ever pulls anything like what she did with the Secret Service, she won't get the chance to resign.


  • Gibbs continually compares Air Force One to the movie set in the Harrison Ford movie "Air Force One".
  • The poison that killed the two nuclear football carriers was venom from a "coastal taipan", a poisonous snake found in Australia.
  • The name of the episode, "Yankee White", is a reference to the clearance level given to personnel working directly with the President. Yankee White clearance requires extensive background checks and is difficult to attain.

Arc Advancement


Caitlin Todd

  • Agent Todd resigns from the Secret Service and is hired by NCIS.




The Show

  • Gibbs' constant references to how much Air Force One looks like the Air Force One set from the movie Air Force One are accurate - the set used in "Yankee White" is the same set that was used in Air Force One.
  • The "football carrier" is a military officer who is in charge of the briefcase holding nuclear launch confirmation codes and various other important documents.
  • Gibbs' Rules
    • #1 Never let suspects stay together
    • #2 Always wear gloves at a crime scene
    • #3 Don't believe what you're told. Double check

Behind the Scenes

Allusions and References

  • Gibbs makes constant references to the movie Air Force One throughout the episode.

Memorable Moments


  • A TSA guard is checking over Gibbs and DiNozzo's NCIS ID cards:
Gibbs: Hey, we're LEOs.
Dennis, Airport Guard: And I'm a Capricorn.
DiNozzo: LEO, short for Law Enforcement Officer.
Gibbs: You new at this, Dennis?
Airport Guard: Ah, first week. NCIS. Never heard of it.
Gibbs: That's embarrassing.
Airport Guard: NCIS anything like CSI?
DiNozzo: Only if you're dyslexic.
  • DiNozzo on his cell phone in a body bag in the back of an FBI vehicle pretending to be the dead Navy officer:
DiNozzo: Hello?
Gibbs: We're in the clear. You can get out of the body bag.
DiNozzo: I never thought I'd say this, but I'm not sure I want to.
Gibbs: What? You gotta search Commander Trapp's apartment tonight.
DiNozzo: Aw, Gibbs, c'mon, it's one AM.
Gibbs: Agent Axelrod is trailing you to pick up the body bag when the FBI tosses it.
DiNozzo: That's funny, Gibbs, real funny, especially since—Gah!
Gibbs: I guess they found him.
  • Abby and Tony in the NCIS forensics lab:
Abby: So what are you gonna do while I'm finding poison in a health snack?
DiNozzo: I'll wait.
Abby: There's a futon in the cabinet over there.
DiNozzo: Oh—bless you.
Abby: What are you, my priest?
DiNozzo: Curse you?
Abby: Heh.