Season 1 Episode 7

Sub Rosa

Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Nov 18, 2003 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
361 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

A decomposed body is discovered in a tub of acid at a naval base and Ducky and Abby learn that the victim was a submariner. Gibbs discovers that there have been no reports of a sub crewmember missing, so he deduces that one of the subs has an imposter on board. With this new information, the team must find out which sub the man posing as the victim is in and what intentions he may have towards the sub.moreless

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  • Good episode, I like the submarine environment. And the ice cream!

    We get our intro to Mcgee here, yay. He can be annoying sometimes but for the most part he is a nice addition to the team. I like that him and Tony are different so when they're competitive it's usually about different things so Tony is better in the things Tony is better at and vice versa. Unlike Kate who, like in this episode, insists she's better than Tony at absolutely everything and acts like he's some sexually perverse, scum of the earth, ignorant .. many other words. She believes here she's more qualified because she's a trained profiler, even though so far she's gotten everything wrong and was still useless in this episode. Furthermore, she constantly puts Tony down acting better than him but then acts all skanky and implies she was 'fun' in college, but if Tony said that he'd be a pig.

    Tony has shown us his skills at interrogating in the JAG episodes and he would be qualified for this.

    One thing I don't get (and it could be totally obvious) is what did Kate spill if "that's not coffee"? I mean it can't be alcoholic legally and because Gibbs is more stand up than drinking on the job. If it was tea, than ok, she can go get you tea.. so it was obviously something. Unless by coffee he meant it's not JUST coffee then ok that sucks.. but still I feel like I missed something here ha.

    I like how this show doesn't hide the bodies from us, being a forensic student who doesn't get to see enough gore in real life, it's cool seeing these sorts of things.

    I liked the story line, I could believe an eco terrorist was doing this, and how he got on the ship. I also liked how the real identity was discovered and his back up plan was quite smart with the sarin gas.

    I don't like the McGee Abby relationship.. I don't know.. they are definitely cute later on and have a cute friendship, but here and early on it's quite annoying and I just don't feel it.

    I have to ask though, wouldn't it be dangerous to release the gas in the ocean though? I mean that tiny canister could kill everyone on an entire sub. What could happen to the environment in the ocean? Ah well.

    And if McGee really did just get a tat on his ass because Tony said Abby likes that, before he's even met Abby... that is actually really creepy.. And Gibbs wouldn't know about it, so either he's always had it and just acted like its new (which is believable) or it was an in joke between them and he didn't get it.

    And naturally Gibbs makes a sex reference when Kate says "wow" and he says "I get that a lot" and she doesn't care, finds it funny, even though she gives the COB a death stare for also finding it funny. But Tony does nothing that bad and gets critiqued. Yeah right see where her girly crush is.

    I do like this show, a lot, but Kate has always annoyed me, even before I became a fan of Ziva (who has her bad moments), but having watched these episodes before now I kind of just want to rant about what's annoying, because maybe others feel the same way and nobody else will listen. I know nobody listens to me :)moreless
  • Funny episode

    Didn't like that Kate persisted she was better qualified for the job on the sub than Tony because she clearly wasn't. Tony showed his skills as an interrogator much earlier (JAG), and like Gibbs he has a good instinct for people. And I wasn't convinced by the case - I mean, an eco terrorist who commits suicide to save whales? However, the storyline of the case was interesting, exciting, and offered a lot of twists and turns. Also really liked the interaction between Kate and Gibbs on the sub, including some sexual tension. ^^

    Nice introduction of McGee, good interaction with Tony. McGee's interest in Abby and Tony trying to discourage him was funny - but I never liked that they had an affair. The interaction between Ducky and Abby was very enjoyable to watch as well. In all, one of my favourite episodes.

  • Submarine

    I loved the story, to be honest. I mean.. carrier last time, now submarine. That's just great. And the whole reason why they are there: some is on that boat who should not be. The idea of something like that even possible! And then Gibbs and Todd trying their best to figure it out.. and the way noone seems to be the one they are looking.. those exercises.. and getting under the sea.. and that emergency rise.. and then when the guy is dead, they realizing that his plan is not over. So, a lot of action, tension, excitement. Liked that.moreless
  • Very cool submarine story.

    First intro to McGee. Tony bullied McGee from day one and interestingly, McGee called Tony 'sir' but Tony only made fun of him for it once McGee got reassigned. Tony is insane! Playing 'football' with McGee was hilarious. It's a wonder that McGee ever takes Tony seriously.

    Kate thrown into Gibbs' arms and Gibbs' joke was great. Again playing up the Kate/Gibbs thing but seriously, why bother, there's no chemistry there at all. It's a sad fact there there's more chemistry with Tony/Gibbs than there is with Kate/Gibbs.

    Liked the eco terrorist storyline, someone using their access to further their political aims. 'Drew' was absolutely committed to his plan, even committing suicide to get himself into the freezer, very smart.moreless
  • Another great episode!

    This episode is a great one, but it provides me with bad memories, because as I watched it, I found out that my DVD was faulty, and the episode froze!

    Anyway, after getting my faulty copy replaced, I thoroughly enjoyed this episode! It was a truly great case solved by Gibbs and his team.

    This episode is also the first time that we see Timothy McGee, which was great!

    I enjoyed watching Gibbs and Kate in a submarine. I really personally enjoy seeing the team in various positions, and this really helps character development.

    The episode had a superb ending, in my opinion. The case was pieced together well and this allowed the episode to just flow. And Gibbs and Kate nearly suffered the fate of the weapon, when the guilty party swallowed the capsule!

    Overall, great work! A remarkable episode with twists around every corner! I loved it all the way!moreless
Mark Harmon

Mark Harmon

Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs

Sasha Alexander

Sasha Alexander

Special Agent Kate Todd

Michael Weatherly

Michael Weatherly

Special Agent Tony DiNozzo

Pauley Perrette

Pauley Perrette

Forensics Specialist Abby Sciuto

David McCallum

David McCallum

Chief M.E. Ducky Mallard

Ben Murphy

Ben Murphy

Capt. Veitch

Guest Star

David Monahan

David Monahan

PO Drew

Guest Star

David O'Donnell

David O'Donnell


Guest Star

Sean Murray (I)

Sean Murray (I)

Special Agent Tim McGee

Recurring Role

Pancho Demmings

Pancho Demmings

Asst. M.E. Gerald Jackson

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • TRIVIA: Whilst interviewing the first Petty Officer, Gibbs and Todd note that he was lying because his eyes looked to his left. This is a famous part of Neuro-Linguisting Programming, but they get it wrong. NLP is based on looking at a person - if their eyes go to their left the observer would see them going to the right, which would mean a truth rather than a lie.

    • TRIVIA: Michael Weatherly, in an interview said that while throwing a rock through the window was scripted, the running and football commentary was just improvising on his part. He claims this was the start of his ad-libbing in the series.

    • TRIVIA: Note McGee's tie. He wears the same tie in every season 1 episode until he gets his 'stripes' in season 2. Also, McGee holds his gun in his right hand this episode, all other episodes, he uses his left.

    • GOOF: McGee asks Tony about what Abby looks like. McGee had seen Abby in the video conference that Abby & Ducky had with Gibbs. He was standing beside Gibbs and had to have seen her.

  • QUOTES (21)

    • Tony: Yeah... Listen, kid... uh, I don't want to hurt your feelings, but you're not exactly Abby's type.
      McGee: I've taken care of that. Remember that urge you were talking about? (pause) I went with 'Mom'. (McGee enters elevator as Tony is frozen in disbelief)

    • Tony: I've never experienced Gibbs without his morning coffee. We're in uncharted waters here, Kate.

    • Tony: Worst case of acid indigestion I ever saw.
      Gibbs: Hey... better get Michael Jackson out of here... before he ralphs.

    • Kate: replace me because I shave my legs and not my face is unconscionable and certainly not in the best interests of the case.
      Gibbs: You claustrophobic?
      Kate: No.
      Gibbs: Good. (walks away)
      Kate: I'm going?!
      Tony: Don't forget to wax.

    • Abby: There's good news and bad news...
      Ducky: (sighs) I hate it when you play this game, Abby.
      Abby: His last meal was a Big Mac and fries.
      Ducky: Probably half the base had that for lunch. I was hoping you'd come up with something a little more exotic. Tandoori perhaps. And the good news?
      Abby: I know what's in the special sauce.

    • Ducky: I have good news and bad news.
      Abby: I hate payback.

    • (Tony throws a rock through the window.)
      McGee: That's breaking and entering.
      Tony: No. That was breaking... (reaches through window and opens door from inside) ... and this is entering.

    • Kate: Wow!
      Gibbs: That's what they all tell me.

    • Tony: Can a guy be cute to you without body art?
      Abby: Sure. I'm not a snob.

    • Abby: So what's Agent McGee like?
      Tony: Ah, like most newbies. Quiet, green, gullible.
      Abby: Bi?
      Tony: ... I don't think so.

    • McGee: I've heard stories about Special Agent Gibbs.
      Tony: Only half of 'em are true. Trick is, figuring out which half.

    • Tony: You look like hell.
      Kate: A woman loves to hear that, Tony.

    • Kate: Do people react that way because we're NCIS, or do you just have that effect on them?
      Gibbs: I'd like to think it's me.

    • McGee: What's she look like?
      Tony: Who?
      McGee: Abby. Sounds cute.
      Tony: Not your type.
      McGee: Well, how do you know that?
      Tony: Have you ever had the slightest urge to tattoo your buttocks, McGee?
      McGee: I don't...think so.
      Tony: Then we need never speak of her again.

    • McGee: You'll wanna avoid Captain Veech...
      Gibbs: What?
      McGee: Um. Well. I met him once. Before. He can be very...difficult.
      Gibbs: And you don't think that I can be difficult?
      McGee: Ah. I'm sure you can, sir.

    • Kate: Why are you making him stay here?
      Tony: Because I can?
      Kate: That is complete abuse of authority.
      Tony: Lighten up, he's new, he expects to be abused. It goes with the territory.
      Kate: This isn't pledge week at Sigma Chi, Tony.
      Tony: Bet you were a lot of fun in college.
      Kate: I was a lot of fun in college.
      Tony: Really.

    • Kate: Do you think we have enough, steward?
      Steward: Well, there's about forty gallons more in the galley, ma'am. Might as well eat it before it melts.
      Kate: I don't get it.
      Gibbs: They had to make room in the freezer for the body.
      Kate: Nice.

    • Kate: I wonder what he said to make Tony speechless.
      Gibbs: He told him he got a tat on his ass. (Walks away, Kate looks confused.)

    • Gibbs: COB, I don't have to tell you what the next most important thing is?
      COB: Put the ice cream back in the freezer.

    • Gibbs: Drink.
      Kate: What's with all the water?
      Gibbs: Oh, you gotta hydrate on a submarine.
      Kate: All you've had me doing is hydrating...
      Gibbs: Drink it. (Pause) So how's your bladder?
      Kate: What?
      Gibbs: The COB's at the end of the passageway trying to keep an eye on us. You gotta distract him. (Pause) You're gonna need help working the toilet.
      Kate: Gibbs...
      Gibbs: Trust me, Kate, on a submarine it's a very complicated mechanism.
      Kate: Is that why you've been shoving water down my throat for the past hour?
      Gibbs: I want to check out PO Thompson.
      Kate: All right. Well, you didn't have to drown me, all you had to do was ask.
      Gibbs: Come on. Hydrating is good for you. Go on... unhydrate.
      Kate: Never heard it called that before.
      Gibbs: Go on...

    • Tony: If you're coming down with something, don't sit next to me in the truck.
      Kate: There's an upside to getting a cold?
      Tony: Wanna tell the doctor about it? (straightens his tie and grins)

  • NOTES (3)

    • Original International Airdates:
      Croatia: August 09, 2005 on NOVA TV
      Finland: October 14, 2006 on Nelonen
      France: March 24, 2004 on M6
      Germany: May 05, 2005 on SAT.1
      Hungary: November 28, 2005 on TV 2
      Sweden: August 01, 2004 on TV3
      Denmark: November 25, 2003 on TV3

    • The song playing while Abby is telling Tony about the canister is "Euphoria" by Collide.

    • First appearance of Tim McGee, played by Sean Murray, who will become the official cast member in season 2. Previously, Sean had a guest starring role as well as a second recurring role on JAG, but as a totally different character. Sean Murray is the creator Donald P. Bellisario's step son.


    • Tony: I guess "Flying Toasters" was too much to ask for.

      When McGee was hacking into the eco-terrorists PC, Tony made mention of a famous screen saver on the Macintosh operating system.

    • Episode Title: "Sub Rosa"
      The episode title is actually a phrase that had its origins in the story of the Greek god Eros' (better known by his Roman name Cupid) bribing the God of Silence, Harpocrates, with a rose to keep the confidence of Eros' mother Aphrodite (also known as Venus). Roman banquet halls would have their ceilings adorned with roses to indicate that whatever is said under wine is under the rose (sub vino, sub rosa).