NCIS Sneak Peek: When Gibbs Met Tony ...

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NCIS returns to CBS Tuesday, and when Tony's ex-partner, Danny Price, appears to be the Port-to-Port Killer's latest victim, he revisits his days as a detective in Baltimore.

In this much-anticipated "origin" episode, we'll also see DiNozzo's first encounter with the man who's been his boss for the better part of 10 years now: Leroy Jethro Gibbs.

The episode, appropriately titled "Baltimore" also marks the first time in at least 40 episodes that Michael Weatherly has gotten to wear casual attire on the show ...

Tony Meets Jethro

Shooting an NCIS interrogation scene quite unlike any other, Michael and Mark Harmon are in flashback mode, circa 2001, facing off as captor and the captured.

An abandoned newspaper office building in downtown Los Angeles has been transformed into a Baltimore police station, where DiNozzo has brought a handcuffed Gibbs in for questioning after tackling and arresting him on the street.

When he learns that his future boss is not a crook but an undercover NCIS agent, he is dumbstruck - by Gibbs' seeming stupidity in getting busted.

"Well, it's official," DiNozzo says as he cuffs Gibbs ...

"He's a cop — a Navy cop. Navy NCIS," the actor adds, in as patronizing a tone as possible - an inside joke for fans, since that was the silly full title the series.

Weatherly promises that the episode will shed new light on his character, whose competence was being sacrificed for comedy in the eyes of some fans - and Michael.

"I have been more alert about: Are we going to step on Tony and put him in a position where he suddenly doesn't know how to fight very well?" he tells TV Guide.

"I've always thought, well, it'll be fine - until this year. In 2011, I'm like, no! We've got to protect him a little. But I think the writers were having the same idea."

For much more on the episode, as well as the origin of the head slap and the first time Michael met Mark Harmon in real life, check out TV Guide's cover story!

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.

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NCIS Quotes

Tony: One other question, I know you're an expert in English history. And I was just wondering, have you ever heard of Archibald Drummond, the 17th Earl of Trent?
Ducky: The Earl of Trent. No, I can't say I have. Why?
Tony: I was just wondering. Thanks.

McGee: Rule number 70 - keep digging till you hit bottom.
Abby: McGee! There is no rule 70.
McGee: Well, I--
Abby: You just made up a rule. This McGibbs thing has really gone to your head. I don't even recognize you right now.