NCIS ‘When I die’ poem: Vance reads Epitaph to his team

Emily And Tobias NCIS
Emily Fornell is a character that NCIS fans are going to miss. Pic credit: CBS

The latest episode of NCIS was a poignant one. While there was a mystery to solve, fans of the show were gutted by a subplot. And the episode became quite the tearjerker when Vance read a poem to the NCIS team right before the screen faded to black.

During the episode called Winter Chill, Emily Fornell died. The daughter of Tobias Fornell, she had struggled with addiction, but it was something he thought she had overcome.

However, that was not the case as she overdosed on what appeared to be stolen prescription meds.

Emily’s death hit the entire team hard, including Gibbs, who has been a father figure to her for several years. Back at the office, McGee, Torres, and Bishop learned the news and were in a somber mood when Palmer came upon them.

Palmer also lost his wife in a recent episode, so that character gets put through the wringer.

As the quartet discussed what had happened, Vance walked in holding a piece of paper. It was a poem that he was going to take to Fornell in the hopes that it would help him.

It turned out that Vance had also given Palmer that same poem recently, and the doctor confirmed it was never too soon to deliver it.

Bishop asked Vance to read the poem, which led to some excruciatingly emotional moments for the NCIS team.

What was the NCIS ‘When I die’ poem that Vance read?

The poem that Vance read is called Epitaph, and Merrit Malloy wrote it. It’s a deeply emotional poem that causes an immediate reflection, and it definitely fits within the story of the episode perfectly.

It also increased the impact of losing Emily Fornell, even if she might have been just a supporting character to the show.

Gibbs feeling his age on NCIS

After losing Sloane during the previous episode, Gibbs definitely didn’t seem like himself during Winter Chill. He also seemed to be getting caught off guard by the gifts that Sloane had left other NCIS team members.

We think that could be addressed again later and that maybe she left him something, even though it wasn’t addressed yet.

Gibbs has lost his family, he has lost close people he worked with, Sloane is gone, and now Emily has died. It could all point toward Gibbs reaching the end of his tenure at NCIS if he feels that it is time to move on to something else.

We hope that is not the case, but the writing also seems indicative of a show that is nearing its end.

NCIS Season 19 has not yet been ordered by CBS, but we hope that it is in the works. The ratings are still strong enough to warrant another year or two, but without Gibbs (and star Mark Harmon) at the helm, can NCIS go on?

NCIS airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on CBS.

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Steve Horvath
Steve Horvath
2 years ago

I believe that Mark Harmon’s character keeps the team and the show together; Without him, this great program would not work. In my opinion, NCIS owes its success to Gibbs’ leading character played by veteran actor Mark Harmon.