After actor Ralph Waite passed away last week, "NCIS" writers made the decision to pay tribute to the man who played Leroy Jethro Gibbs' father, Jackson. The tribute will likely come at the end of the season.
"[Showrunner] Gary Glasberg and the writers are working on something special to address the passing of Ralph Waite in the season finale," a CBS spokesperson told TVLine, "to honor both the memory of Ralph, as well as the character of Jackson Gibbs."
Waite appeared in seven episodes of the CBS hit series as the father of special agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs. His character managed to show that even at an older age, one is not too old to use a weapon or stand one's ground. It was Jackson's tough love that sent the younger Gibbs into the military, but in later years the two actually worked together and were building a stronger relationship. The "NCIS" cast grew close to Waite and welcomed his appearances and screen time.
"So sad. Ralph Waite has passed away," co-star Pauley Perrette tweeted. "Papa Gibbs. We love him at NCIS SO much. So so sad."
Waite was a legendary actor who starred in numerous series, including "The Waltons," "Days of Our Lives," and had appearances on "Bones" and "NCIS." He always seemed to grow close to those he worked with and made many friends throughout his career.
"To my good friend Mr. Waite! You will be [terribly] missed & I feel honored to have [shared] the screen opposite of you this past year & our good talks followed by your great sense of humor! #RIP" tweeted "Days of Our Lives" actor Greg Vaughan.
"So very sad to hear about the passing of Ralph Waite," veteran actress Eileen Davidson posted on Facebook. "I had the great pleasure of working with him. He was always charming, prepared and ready to work. I was always thrilled to share scenes with him."
"NCIS" resumes its season tonight, February 25, on CBS.