Caitlin Todd

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Caitlin "Kate" Todd
NCIS character
Ktodd.jpg
Sasha Alexander as Kate Todd in a promotional photo for NCIS Season 1.
First appearance "Yankee White"
Last appearance "Twilight"
"A Man Walks Into a Bar..." (archive footage, deleted scenes)
"Life Before His Eyes" (archive footage, deleted scenes)
Portrayed by Sasha Alexander
Information
Gender Female
Occupation Special Agent, Major Case Response Team Field Agent, (NCIS)
Former Special Agent, (USSS)
Family Rachel Cranston (older sister)
Three Unnamed brothers

Special Agent Caitlin "Kate" Todd is a fictional character in the CBS drama NCIS, and was portrayed by actress Sasha Alexander.

She was introduced in the show's first episode "Yankee White", replacing Robyn Lively's character Vivian Blackadder, who had appeared in the JAG Season 8 episodes "Ice Queen" and "Meltdown." Blackadder was written out of the show after test audiences viewing the two episodes reacted very negatively to her, resulting in the character of Kate Todd being created when NCIS went into regular production.

First encountered by the team as a United States Secret Service special agent assigned to the Presidential Protection Detail on Air Force One, she was promptly recruited by senior special agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs at the end of the first episode following her resignation from the USSS for breaking the rules about not dating a colleague or having a relationship with them.

She quickly became a key member of the Gibbs-led Major Case Response Team (MCRT) based at the NCIS headquarters in Washington, DC.

At the end of Season 2, in the last few seconds of the finale "Twilight", she was killed in the line of duty, having been shot in the head by rogue Mossad member Ari Haswari following Sasha Alexander's decision to leave the show.

She was later replaced by Ziva David, played by Chilean actress Cote de Pablo.

Background[edit]

Not much is known about Agent Todd's origins, except for the fact that she originally came from Indiana, had three brothers whom she mentioned as being "practically psychotic" and an elder sister (introduced as Rachel Cranston in Season 8 Episode 14 "A Man Walks Into a Bar..."), and was Catholic.[1] She also mentioned having a cousin named Maureen Ingalls.[2] She was canonically in her late twenties.[3]

Education and work history[edit]

She went to college in the 1990s, first studying law to become a lawyer but dropped out after a single year, having felt like she had spent "10 years in prison".[4] During her years at college she won a wet T-shirt contest in 1994, during her Spring Break vacation in Panama City Beach, Florida which her colleague, Anthony "Tony" DiNozzo, used a source of amusement and possible blackmail material in "Conspiracy Theory".[5]

Some time after college, she joined the United States Secret Service, and was eventually assigned to the President's security detail aboard Air Force One. Viewing her job as very demanding, she didn't have the time to meet someone outside of work, and started a romantic relationship with the Marine assigned as carrier of the presidential "Nuclear Football", Timothy Kerry, thereby breaking the Secret Service's rules which prohibit relationships between colleagues.

At the end of the first episode "Yankee White", she resigned from the Secret Service before her superiors either sacked or fired her for disobeying the fraternization rules; NCIS Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs recruited Todd almost immediately after she quit and assigned her to his team where she became an NCIS Special Agent and the third member of Gibbs' team, pairing her with special agent Anthony DiNozzo.

As a member on NCIS's MCRT, Todd became the team's dedicated profiler and created psychological profiles on the suspects being investigated, a role that Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard later took over, having gained a psychology degree. She enjoyed working on the NCIS team although as a new person to the group, she was first taken aback by their apparent disregard for the rules and protested at times, yet she came to find herself bending rules like Gibbs and DiNozzo to get the information they needed to trap some suspect or another.

For example, in the episode "A Weak Link", she suggested they hack into a system to get the information they needed for a particular case.[6] Other of Caitlin Todd's skills included counterfeit bill analysis and protection detail,[3] which she acquired during her time as a U.S. Secret Service Special Agent.

Characterization[edit]

Todd was portrayed as professional and as a talented agent, with great profiling skills and artistic talents.[7] At the beginning of Season 1, she was often shown to be surprised by the rule-breaking tendencies that her colleagues performed but eventually adhered to them. She also seemed to get emotionally attached to victims as seen in the episodes "The Immortals" and especially "Left For Dead", when she befriended a Jane Doe (Sherilyn Fenn) who had memory loss after being buried alive in a grave. It was later revealed, however, that the Jane Doe had actually been deceiving Todd all along and she later killed herself and her lover, with the aftermath leaving Kate emotionally scarred for some time.[2]

Her attitude contrasted vastly with DiNozzo's behavior, and they routinely argued over matters of privacy and personal boundaries: throughout the first two seasons, Todd was the prime target of DiNozzo's nosing, with the latter sneaking through her purse, cellphone, PDA and desktop computer on a regular basis, which infuriated her to no end. DiNozzo even went through Kate's trash to discover where she'd eaten breakfast much to her chargin in "Doppelganger".

Whereas Todd considered this outrageous and unacceptable, DiNozzo seemingly merely did this for his personal entertainment.[8][9] However, DiNozzo had also been the target of numerous taunts and regular teasing from Todd as well.[10][11]

It was also revealed in the Season 2 episode, "Witness" that Kate had a phobia of going to the dentist but she eventually overcame it thanks to Tony giving her the number of a hypnotist.

A talented sketch artist, she sketched an accurate likeness of a suspect in the episode "Marine Down". During the same episode, it was shown that she had drawn caricatures of the team, some of which showed DiNozzo lusting after a pretty girl, and NCIS forensic scientist Abby Sciuto as a bat. She also drew one of Gibbs as well, but managed to take her drawing pad back from DiNozzo before he revealed it.

In addition to being excellent at drawing, Todd, like Abby, was greatly skilled in using a Personal digital assistant or a PDA. Kate's first PDA was destroyed during a practice test at the shooting range at the beginning of Season 1 episode "Marine Down" after Gibbs taped it onto her target to force her to shoot accurately. It had to be discarded as the warranty did not cover damage caused by bullets. She was later seen using a possible replacement in Season 1 episode "Eye Spy" and was always seen with one at various crime scenes, usually giving Gibbs or the team information.

Despite being seen writing things with her right hand, Todd was seen operating her computer mouse with her left hand, suggesting that she might be ambidextrous. She also told Gibbs and DiNozzo during "Eye Spy" that despite being right handed, she played golf left handed, yet swung a bat and threw balls (presumably while playing softball or baseball) right handed.

In season three, when Ziva David joined the team full-time and moved into Todd's cubicle, she presented Gibbs with Todd's sketch pad. There were portraits of each cast member in it, including Gibbs.[12]

Todd had an opportunity to kill Ari when he broke into the NCIS autopsy lab in "Bête Noire" and shot Gerald in the shoulder, but found she was unable to do so. Gibbs later chastized her for this.[13] In "Kill Ari (Part I)," during a discussion with Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard in the morgue, Todd, who had been shot dead in the previous episode, explained that she had not been able to kill Ari because she had looked into his eyes and that there had been something kind in them. She also expressed regret at not killing Ari when she had the chance because in her opinion, Todd knew that she did not deserve to die.

Death[edit]

Todd's year and a half long career as an NCIS Special Agent came to an abrupt and tragic end when in the last few seconds of the Season 2 finale, "Twilight" (canonically on May 24, 2005[14]), after she and the team had successfully cleared a warehouse, shooting all the terrorists in sight, Kate herself died after being shot through the head which left a bullet-shaped hole in its wake and killed her instantly with Gibbs and DiNozzo as witnesses to Kate's murder.

The murderer was revealed as the team's old enemy, terrorist and double agent Ari Haswari, who had targeted and killed her merely because he wanted to cause Gibbs pain (even using a Bravo 51 nicknamed "Kate");[15] the remaining members of the team were left completely shellshocked and numb by Kate's brutal murder and struggled to come to terms with her death, Abby being the one who took the situation pretty hard as she and Kate had been friends since the very beginning of Kate's career as an NCIS Special Agent.

Seeking revenge against Ari, Gibbs solely embarked on a vengeful quest to find and kill Ari during the events of "Kill Ari" Parts I & II. Ari was eventually shot by his own half-sister, Mossad officer Ziva David, who later filled the void left in the team by Todd's death. Although at first the team wasn't too happy about Ziva replacing Todd, they later grew to accept her.[12] At the end of the episode "Kill Ari (Part II)", the remaining members of the MCRT, along with Dr. Mallard and Abby Sciuto, bid a sad farewell to Todd while reminiscing happier times as she was laid to rest with civilian honors. During Gibbs' vision of Todd in her coffin, it was revealed that she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom

After her death, Todd was occasionally referenced in later episodes:

  • In "Mind Games", DiNozzo tells Special agent Timothy McGee to ask Todd whether they have knee pads or not before realizing she is dead. Kyle Boone uses Todd's death in an attempt to intimidate Gibbs in the same episode.[16]
  • When Gibbs lost his memory from an explosion during the events of "Hiatus (Part 1)", Ziva reminded Gibbs of Todd's murder and of Ziva killing Ari before taking Gibbs' hand and using it to slap herself on the back of the head, to break the blankness of him not knowing who he was, leading him to regain his memory once again.[17] He accidentally called Ziva "Kate" when he returned to NCIS in season 4.
  • In the episode "Bait", a teenage student held his classmates hostage inside a classroom by threatening them with a bomb strapped to his chest. Gibbs and his team arrived on scene but were unable to get audio and video of the situation inside the classroom, thus, Gibbs put himself in danger by offering himself as a hostage. While DiNozzo took charge of the team, the boy demanded that his mother be brought to the classroom by sunset, but the team discovered that she had been dead for a year. DiNozzo let Gibbs know by saying to the student that Special Agent Caitlin Todd was looking for his mother. A marine asked how Gibbs would know that the boy's mother was deceased. DiNozzo replied, "Special Agent Todd is dead."[18]
  • Todd is briefly mentioned by McGee in the Season 3 episode "Probie" and by Dr. Mallard in the Season 6 finale "Aliyah".
  • Todd was a major subject of Season 8's "A Man Walks Into a Bar...", in which her sister, Dr Rachel Cranston, was introduced, conducting mandatory psychological evaluation of the MCRT. Flashbacks of archive footage, alternate takes and deleted scenes including one from the Season 2 episode, "An Eye for an Eye", are used for illustrating the memories of Gibbs, DiNozzo, Sciuto, Dr. Mallard, McGee and Rachel as they remember their deceased friend and sister. A scene where Rachel sleeps behind Todd's former desk mirrors a similar scene with Todd in "Twilight". At the episode's conclusion, Rachel tearfully mentions that the team have been "better than [Rachel] at letting go", revealing her need for closure. Gibbs then takes her to his basement, showing Rachel where Ziva killed Ari, helping her to find closure.[19]
  • In the 200th episode an alternate-universe version of Kate is shown in which she was never killed by Ari, is still an NCIS agent, and is married to DiNozzo with a baby girl named Kelly.
  • In season 10 "You Better Watch Out" it is revealed Tony named his goldfish after Kate.
  • In season 11 "Gut Check" Kate is referenced by Abby when speaking to NSA Agent Eleanor Bishop, foreshadowing the possible future role of Bishop on Gibbs' NCIS team.

Relationships[edit]

Special Agent in Charge Leroy Jethro Gibbs[edit]

Although they conflicted heavily upon their first meeting in "Yankee White", Todd had a great relationship with Gibbs. Gibbs immediately saw her potential as a special agent and hired her right after she resigned from the Secret Service. Despite difficult beginnings during which Todd resented Gibbs' harshness and rude manners (such as hanging up on her), she had a lot of respect for Gibbs and worked well with him. He was her mentor and believed that she was a great agent; in "Sub Rosa", Gibbs brought Todd with him aboard a U.S. Navy Los Angeles-class attack submarine even though women are considered "problematic" aboard submarines; in order to bring Todd with him, Gibbs didn't hesitate to argue with Norfolk's sub squadron commander.[20]

Keeping with his tendency to know "everything about everyone", Gibbs knew what the tattoo Todd had on her back[21] represented and was apparently the first to identify Dr. Rachel Cranston as Todd's sister in "A Man Walks Into a Bar...".[19]

Confronted with Todd's death, a shocked and vengeful Gibbs found himself overwhelmed with guilt and, like the rest of the protagonists, began having visions of her. His first visions of Todd blamed him for her death and angrily demanded to know why she was killed instead of him, even suggesting that Gibbs should commit suicide.[22] After he avenged her death by having Ari killed, however, he had another vision of her at her funeral in which she seemed to have forgiven him, smiling and jokingly telling him "You're late for my funeral, Gibbs".[15]

Senior Field Special Agent Anthony "Tony" DiNozzo[edit]

Todd's relationship with her fellow co-worker Tony DiNozzo could be referred to as a sibling love-hate relationship as they had arguments usually in various levels of maturity. The two constantly competed, both during training and investigations.[7] Todd was often critical of DiNozzo's behaviour, especially concerning his attitude towards women and his disrespect for personal boundaries; indeed, DiNozzo routinely went through Todd's purse, cellphone, PDA and desktop computer, uncovering personal informations such as her dates' identities.[10] In one episode, DiNozzo sneaked unbeknownst to her into the bathroom while she was having a shower in order to brush his teeth, which infuriated her when she noticed him.[23] However, it was not uncommon for DiNozzo to be teased and taunted by Todd,[10][11][24][25] especially after DiNozzo kissed a female suspect who was, unbeknownst to him, a transsexual; their bickering got so bad in the episode "Pop Life" that they sought counseling from Dr. Mallard.

Despite her dislike of Tony's habit of trespassing her privacy, they get along at work, with Tony frequently explaining military slang to her.[26] They also "gang up" against McGee when he first joined the team by letting him to some of the more mundane jobs. In the Season 2 episode "Forced Entry" they tricked McGee into drinking Gibbs' coffee, which is a well-known taboo.

However, on many occasions DiNozzo was shown being considerate, kind and even borderline romantic to Todd. He bought her flowers as a peace offering after annoying her in the episode "Vanished". He showed concern for her several times, including at the end of episodes "Left For Dead", when she realized she had been played by a victim, and "Bête Noire", when she was held hostage by Ari. In the episode "The Bone Yard", DiNozzo was almost possessive of Todd when McGee posed the idea of pretending to be Todd's lover to get into a paternity clinic to photograph evidence for Sciuto, saying he would do it instead of McGee; later in the same episode, he told Todd he thought they made a good couple, to which she replied "Maybe for The Jerry Springer Show". In the episode "Black Water", he went close to jealousy when Todd accepted a date offered by the victim's brother. During the events of "My Other Left Foot", DiNozzo was obsessed by the idea of Todd having a tattoo and asked to know where during the whole episode. In extras seen on the Season 2 DVD Box Set, the producers stated it was intended for there to be a relationship between these two characters. When DiNozzo was posing as a criminal in "Chained", Todd showed much concern for his safety.[27] In the episode "SWAK", after Todd was found to be uninfected, she continued to stay with DiNozzo, lying to him about her condition even though she knew that the risk of infection was still imminent. As he was apparently about to die, Todd was devastated and started crying; DiNozzo eventually survived, much to her relief.[28]

Standing with Gibbs and Todd when she was killed, DiNozzo was especially shocked and her death would have a serious impact on him, which along with other events made him "grow up" during the following seasons. As shown in the episodes "Kill Ari" I & II, DiNozzo struggled with sorrow, culminating in a scene in which he and McGee mourn over Todd's dead body in Dr. Mallard's autopsy room.[15] He finally came in terms with her death after her funeral.

After Todd's death, like the other characters, DiNozzo also had a vision of her postmortem. Typical to DiNozzo's chauvinistic personality, Todd appeared in the Catholic schoolgirl uniform that he had been asking about in the episode "Bikini Wax". After telling him that she always knew what he was thinking, she realized that she was wearing the uniform and quickly berated him, saying "Tony, I just died, and you're having a sexual fantasy?" to which he replied, "Can't help it. Sometimes I used to picture you naked" and she responded by screaming in shock seconds before Ziva David was introduced for the first time. This "sexual fantasy" was portrayed after DiNozzo offered to go back out in the pouring rain and find the bullet that killed Todd and became upset when McGee improved the answer he had told to Gibbs.[29] In the Season 8 episode "A Man Walks Into a Bar...", Todd's sister Rachel suggests to DiNozzo that Todd was "hard on [him] because she knew what [he] was really capable of".[19]

In the 200th episode, "Life Before His Eyes", one of several alternate reality scenarios featured Kate surviving, marrying DiNozzo, and having a child with him.

Probationary Special Agent Timothy "Tim" McGee[edit]

When McGee was introduced in "Sub Rosa", Todd protested at DiNozzo's apparent abuse of authority when he ordered McGee to stay on a crime scene until someone else can come to relieve him.[20] Todd and McGee were partnered for a very short time during the episode "UnSEALed",[30] during which he came to her help when she was tied up by a former Navy SEAL.

Throughout Season 2, DiNozzo and Todd would sometimes gang up on McGee to tease him, but Todd generally disapproved of DiNozzo's pranks and hazing of McGee.[31][32] After the murder of a witness under McGee's watch, Todd was the first to try to comfort him.[33]

After Todd's death, like the grief-stricken rest of the team, McGee had to cope with the loss of a friend, and like DiNozzo would fantasize about her.[22] Later, McGee is shown mourning with DiNozzo over Todd's dead body.[15]

Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard[edit]

In "Yankee White", Dr. Mallard was the first NCIS member who got along with Todd.[34] The two liked each other very much and genuinely cared for each other, as seen in several episodes including "Reveille" and "The Meat Puzzle".

In the latter, Gibbs assigned Todd as Dr. Mallard's protection detail when his life was threatened by a criminal.[35] As he does with other team members, Dr. Mallard would usually call Todd by her full name, Caitlin just like her future murderer, Ari Haswari did.

Todd's death was a severe blow to Dr. Mallard,[19][22] who wouldn't let anyone else perform the autopsy on her dead body. Before he started, however, he had a vision of the body speaking to him, declaring she felt she didn't deserve to die. In the Season 8 episode "A Man Walks Into a Bar...", Dr. Mallard has a flashback to this vision while speaking to Dr. Rachel Cranston.

Forensic Specialist Abigail "Abby" Sciuto[edit]

As with Dr. Mallard, Todd and Sciuto got along very well pretty fast, ultimately becoming close friends. They would often make plans together, such as spending the weekend together at a spa.

Also, as seen during "A Weak Link", Abby was seen talking to Kate and asking for advice about her relationship with McGee after he had confessed to the Goth that he liked her, leaving her unsure of how to respond to the comment.

Naturally, she was one of the most deeply affected by Todd's death, but regained composure after being cheered up by a post-mortem, goth vision of Todd. She later played a jazz music record at Todd's funeral, as part of her own New Orleans heritage. Nevertheless, she remained affected long after the funeral, and was initially at odds with the newly recruited Ziva David, both because she took Todd's place and because of her affiliation with Todd's murderer Ari Haswari. Some time later, however, they mended fences, becoming best friends.

In the episode "Marine Down", it was revealed that Todd had drawn several caricatures of her teammates, including one of Sciuto as a vampire bat. Todd started to apologize, saying that there was nothing mean in the drawing, only to be interrupted by an overjoyed Sciuto who asked if she could hang it up on her lab's wall. When Kate died, Abby used the drawing as a reminder about her best friend Kate.[7] She would later stare at it while crying in the aftermath of Todd's death in "Kill Ari (Part I)".

References[edit]

  1. ^ Season 1, Episode 4 "The Immortals"
  2. ^ a b Season 1, Episode 10 "Left For Dead"
  3. ^ a b CBS character file. Retrieved on May 24, 2011
  4. ^ Season 1, Episode 2 "Hung Out To Dry"
  5. ^ Season 2, Episode 19 "Bikini Wax"
  6. ^ Season 1, Episode 22 "A Weak Link"
  7. ^ a b c Season 1, Episode 9 "Marine Down"
  8. ^ Season 2, Episode 20 "Red Cell"
  9. ^ Season 2, Episode 12 "Doppelganger"
  10. ^ a b c Season 1, Episode 19 "Dead Man Talking"
  11. ^ a b Season 1, Episode 13 "One Shot, One Kill"
  12. ^ a b Season 3, Episode 4 "Silver War"
  13. ^ Season 1, Episode 16 "Bête Noire"
  14. ^ Season 2, episode 23 "Twilight"
  15. ^ a b c d Season 3, Episode 2 "Kill Ari (Part II)"
  16. ^ Season 3, Episode 3 "Mind Games"
  17. ^ Season 3, Episode 24 "Hiatus (Part 2)"
  18. ^ "Bait". NCIS. Season 3. Episode 18. March 22, 2011. 22:55 minutes in. CBS.
  19. ^ a b c d Season 8, Episode 14 "A Man Walks Into a Bar..."
  20. ^ a b Season 1, Episode 7 "Sub Rosa"
  21. ^ Season 1, Episode 12 "My Other Left Foot"
  22. ^ a b c Season 3, Episode 1 "Kill Ari (Part I)"
  23. ^ Season 2, Episode 6 "Terminal Leave"
  24. ^ Season 2, Episode 15 "Caught on Tape"
  25. ^ Season 2, Episode 17 "An Eye for an Eye"
  26. ^ "Caught on Tape". NCIS. Season 2. Episode 15. 2005-02-22. CBS.
  27. ^ Season 2, Episode 10 "Chained"
  28. ^ Season 2, Episode 22 "SWAK"
  29. ^ "Kill Ari (Part I)". NCIS. Season 3. Episode 1. September 27, 2005. 23:30 minutes in.
  30. ^ Season 1, Episode 18 "UnSEALed"
  31. ^ Season 2, Episode 3 "Vanished"
  32. ^ Season 2, Episode 9 "Forced Entry"
  33. ^ Season 2, Episode 14 "Witness"
  34. ^ Season 1, Episode 1 "Yankee White"
  35. ^ Season 2, Episode 13 "The Meat Puzzle"

External links[edit]