Poor Gibbs can't seem to understand why doing the right thing is still dogging him.
The details of the assault which caused his suspension continued to haunt Gibbs on NCIS Season 18 Episode 13.
What was well constructed was how a seemingly unrelated hit-and-run case his team was investigating was actually connected to the trial at which Gibbs was supposed to be testifying.
Here's the big question that was never asked: Why was the star witness against a financial advisor who had $30 million stashed somewhere not under some kind of protection?
No, instead, Bernard Wilson was out riding his bike. It was just his luck that all male bicyclists look alike in that skintight apparel, and the petty officer got killed instead.
And it was just a coincidence of the other cyclist being in the Navy that NCIS even got involved with the investigation.
By the time it was determined that Wilson was the real target as an important witness, it was too late because the killer was more effective with a gun than a car.
Again, why wasn't Wilson better protected? And wasn't there a deposition of his testimony that could have been introduced at the trial since he was no longer available?
This was the first point when Gibbs actually felt the impact of what he believed to be a righteous decision: to beat down the dog killer Stana back on NCIS Season 18 Episode 10.
Up until now, his suspension had just been more of an extended vacation, a chance to take care of those long-neglected repairs and to hang out with his new dog Lucy.
His teammates were still stopping by regularly to check on him, so it wasn't like he suffered the sense of disconnect that a lot of retirees do.
He was just sitting at home all this time, waiting for Vance and the world to come around to his way of thinking. That had always worked in the past.
But now he found himself persona non grata as ADA Addison chose to remove him from the witness list, fearing that the reason behind his suspension wouldn't allow him to be seen as a credible witness.
Gibbs has to realize there's a difference between what's morally right and what's legally and/or politically correct.
Dogfighting is bad. But prove it beyond a reasonable doubt and let the judge and/or jury put the beatdown on Stana.
Vance, who has always been more of a big-picture guy than Gibbs, gets that. Gibbs understands that but operates from his heart, not his head, more often than not. He has little tolerance for such arbitrary niceties as rules and regulations.
And now he's paying for that, career-wise.
The fiasco of James getting acquitted was partially Gibbs' fault, but more of the blame fell on Addison.
When she opted not to call Gibbs, the weight of her case fell on Wilson, and she failed to protect him.
And once she decided to put Gibbs on the stand, she should have rehearsed his testimony, so he would have a better idea what to expect from the cross-examination.
And Gibbs, answering monosyllabically, like his good-guy heroes such as John Wayne and Gary Cooper, didn't come off well to the jury.
He failed to elaborate, and Addison did nothing to prop up her only witness.
Fortunately for Gibbs, his team kept plugging away, largely ineffectively, to connect Wilson's murder to James.
You had to feel bad for Kasie, who felt that she should have found a smoking gun earlier to nail James on his Ponzi scheme that financially ruined Navy clients.
And she did finally manage to figure out how James had hidden his ill-gotten gains at a Macau casino.
However, Kasie couldn't locate any forensic evidence on the car that would help locate the killer.
It was hard to believe that she didn't think to check the electronics with all her computer skills and that McGee had to come up with that angle.
Hanna, James's prison girlfriend, just seemed too naive and too, well, nuts to pull off such an involved assassination attempt. It was fun watching Bishop try to bond with her talking romance.
James's wife Charlotte should have been a suspect earlier.
She certainly seemed to hate him. But why would a woman in such financial straits push a divorce from a man who has so much money stashed? Working with him long enough to get him free to get her cut of the money made much more sense.
It's hard to believe that the defense attorney wasn't involved in some way. But maybe the whole plot could have been cooked up in a prison visit or two.
It appeared painful for Gibbs to have to endure the cocksure gloating of James. But Gibbs knew that the acquittal on the financial crimes wasn't the end of things, and he told James so with a big smile on his face.
Nope, McGee had pieced things together just in time to recruit Gibbs to put a tracker in James's passport, something they knew he would have on him while making his escape.
What was disquieting was Gibbs refusing to take the call from NCIS at the conclusion. It almost seemed like he had made his peace with separating from his team.
Now that the story of Gibbs assaulting a suspect is on record, can he come back from that?
To revisit Gibbs' hard year, watch NCIS online.
With Mark Harmon not yet under contract, is Gibbs done?
Does no Gibbs mean no show?
How can Gibbs come back?
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.