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The NCIS Franchise's 1000th Episode Had Easter Eggs Only Hardcore Fans Caught

"NCIS" is 1,000 episodes old, and it treated its audience to a callback-laden plot that shows how the team's past influences its present. During "A Thousand Yards," Leon Vance (Rocky Carroll) is shot by a sniper. The team soon realizes that something major is afoot, and it threatens national security. The case connects all the way back to Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon) and the team's very first time together in the field.

Though that may seem very obvious, a lot of these connections are minute and sophisticated. A closer look at the background of Kasie Hines' (Diona Reasonover) lab toward the end of the episode reveals a notable tribute to the much-missed Abby Sciuto (Pauley Perrette). Art was a major part of Abby's entire "NCIS" backstory, and you can see several of her old paintings on the wall behind Kasie and Nick Torres (Wilmer Valderrama) as they discuss the romantic connection between Lindsey Wexler (Shelby Flannery) and Jared Vance (Spence Moore II). Usually, only a few paintings are on display every week, but viewers can spy a couple more this time out.

Did you remember that beloved "NCIS" stalwart Timothy McGee (Sean Murray) is an author? Seemingly awkward CEO Fletcher Voss (T.J. Thyne) doesn't let his team forget that fact when McGee became acting director of the team in Vance's stead and he references his past while being interviewed. That blink-and-you-miss-it callback hits a fond high note for fans who recall that he's actually quite the bookish type.

There are even more connections, references, and nods to the show's history that take place during "A Thousand Yards."

Gibbs rules and family ties all factor into Episode 1,000

It wouldn't be a major "NCIS" anniversary if we weren't subjected to a Gibbs rule — one of those little pieces of wisdom that Leroy Jethro Gibbs let slip throughout his time on the show. The bromide used in "A Thousand Yards" is "there is no such thing as coincidence." That proves to be painfully true when it's revealed Lindsey Wexler, the internet-based squeeze of Leon Vance's estranged son, Jared, is the daughter of the terrorist who tried to take down Air Force One in "Yankee White," the show's very first episode. 

The case is blown open by Tobias "T.C." Fornell (Joe Spano) whose big Season 21 return was spoiled by Sean Murray's Instagram photo. Fornell recalls that a reference Wexler comes forth with was once uttered by a former foe of Gibbs. That's just one way that Leroy Jethro Gibbs' presence is felt in the 1000th episode of "NCIS," though Mark Harmon didn't film new footage.

One of the neatest and quickest Easter eggs employed by "A Thousand Yards" is the use of Agent William Baer, Jr. (Jeremy John Wells) — a member of the Secret Service who is ultimately responsible for grounding Air Force One and saving the life of the president at Kasie's mayday request. He is the son of William Baer (Gerry Becker), who was Caitlin Todd's (Sasha Alexander) boss before she joined the crew. It's a sweet gesture that proves the "NCIS" team is all family.