Psych Out

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"Psych Out"
NCIS episode
Episode no. Season 9
Episode 16
Directed by Dennis Smith
Written by Gary Glasberg & Reed Steiner
Original air date February 21, 2012 (2012-02-21)
Guest appearance(s)
  • Jamie Lee Curtis as Dr. Samantha Ryan
  • Wendy Makkena as Dr. Rachel Cranston
  • Spencer Locke as Amber Banks
  • Kirsten Nelson as Beth Bank
  • Brandon Olive as Military Liaison Ross Kilmer
  • Aubrey Deeker as Former Navy Commander Brian Mitchell
  • Rob Mayes as Former Marine 2nd Lieutenant Kyle Baxter
  • Samm Levine as NCIS Agent Cashier Fred Seymour
  • Robert Craighead as DEA Agent Simon Lewis
  • Richard Gleason as Navy Reservist Dr. Robert Banks
  • Jack Guzman as Wade
  • Faruq Tauheed as Derek
Episode chronology
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"Need to Know"
NCIS (season 9)
List of NCIS episodes

"Psych Out" is the 16th episode of the ninth season of the American police procedural drama NCIS, and the 202nd episode overall. It originally aired on CBS in the United States on February 21, 2012. The episode is written by Gary Glasberg & Reed Steiner and directed by Dennis Smith, and was seen by 19.29 million viewers.[1]

In the episode, a Navy Reservist from Pentagon's Psy Ops division is shot during his own suicide, making Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon) work with a psychiatrist to solve the case.


Dr. Robert Banks, a prominent Navy psychologist, is found dead from an apparent suicide, and happens to be one of Dr. Cranston's patients. Cranston believes that Banks was murdered, and the team finds evidence that her suspicions are correct. They then begin investigating Banks' work as a psychological warfare agent. However, the Psy Ops Director, Dr. Samantha Ryan, is reluctant to give Gibbs any useful information. Believing that Ryan is hiding something, Gibbs reveals that he knows where her son goes to school, which is supposed to be classified information. Ryan then gives Gibbs the necessary clues to solve the case in return for him keeping her son's whereabouts a secret. The team finds out that the murder was perpetrated by his daughter, who wanted the money from his life insurance policy, and one of Banks' co-workers who she seduced into helping her.

Afterwards, Ryan calls Gibbs in the middle of the night, telling him that he has a special gift for making people feel safe, and asks him out for breakfast, to which he replies that he knows a diner that is open 24 hours.


Jamie Lee Curtis guest starred in "Psych Out".

"Psych Out" is written by Gary Glasberg & Reed Steiner and directed by Dennis Smith. The episode was originally planned to air in November 2011, but was later moved to February 2012.[2] It's the first episode of a two-part arc between Gibbs and Ryan, the next aired on March 20, 2012.[3][4]

In the aftermath of "Life Before His Eyes", "Gibbs has perhaps shed some of the guilt he carried over his wife's death, which may open him up to new relationships", according to Executive producer Gary Glasberg.[5] Jamie Lee Curtis portrays psychiatrist Samantha Ryan in the episode, and her character "knows how to get inside people's heads and she knows how to spar with Gibbs", Glasberg told TV Guide.[5] "She's willing to challenge him on a professional level, which will then carry over into other things. You can't keep [characters] alone forever!".[5]

Dr. Rachel Cranston is recurring in the episode, last seen in the Season premiere, "Nature of the Beast".

Gibbs' rules[edit]

Gibbs introduced rule number 42, "Don't ever accept an apology from someone who just sucker punched you", referring to Ryan first bugging his home and then coming over to apologize.[6]


"Psych Out" was seen by 19.29 million live viewers following its broadcast on February 21, 2012, with a 12.1/19 share among all households, and 3.6/10 share among adults aged 18 to 49.[1][7] A rating point represents one percent of the total number of television sets in American households, and a share means the percentage of television sets in use tuned to the program. In total viewers, "Psych Out" easily won NCIS and CBS the night, while the spin-off NCIS: Los Angeles drew second and was seen by 15.47 million viewers. Compared to last week's episode "Secrets", "Psych Out" was down a bit in both viewers and adults 18-49.

Steve Marsi from TV Fanatic gave the episode 4.5 (out of 5) and stated that "a major reason the episode worked so well was Jamie Lee Curtis' Dr. Samantha Ryan, a uniquely formidable "brain gamer" and an adversary who temporarily threw Gibbs off his game - not an easy feat. Despite portraying a character we were meant to intensely distrust and dislike from the get-go, Curtis turned in a strong, nuanced performance and commanded the screen alongside Mark Harmon throughout".[8]


  1. ^ a b Bibel, Sara (February 23, 2012). "Tuesday Final Ratings: 'Glee,' 'Unforgettable,' 'Body of Proof' Adjusted Up 'NCIS,' 'NCIS: LA,' 'Raising Hope' Adjusted Down". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on February 23, 2012. Retrieved February 23, 2012. 
  2. ^ Mitovich, Matt Webb. "NCIS Scoop! Jamie Lee Curtis to Share 'Sparks' With Gibbs In November Sweeps Arc". TV Line. Retrieved February 22, 2012. 
  3. ^ Bryant, Adam. "NCIS Scoop: Jamie Lee Curtis Books Two-Episode Arc". TV Guide. Retrieved February 22, 2012. 
  4. ^ Mitovich, Matt Webb. "Matt's Inside Line: Scoop on NCIS, Once Upon a Time, Revenge, Smash, Justified and More!". TV Line. Retrieved February 22, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c Bryant, Adam. "Mega Buzz: A Bones Movie, Smash's Leading Lady and a New NCIS Relationship". TV Guide. Retrieved February 22, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Psych Out". CBS. NCIS season 9 episode 16, 35 minutes in. 
  7. ^ Bibel, Sara. "CBS Wins Tuesday in Viewers and Key Demographics; 'NCIS' is the Night's Top Program in Key Ratings Measures". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved February 23, 2012. 
  8. ^ Marsi, Steve. "NCIS Review: Check Your Head". TV Fanatic. Retrieved February 22, 2012.