This has been coming for a while.
A tightly wound Gibbs finally exploded on NCIS Season 18 Episode 10.
Sure, Gibbs has been through a lot of tragedy over the past 18 years.
Why now? Probably too much heartache over time, and he just reached his limit.
But let's not pretend Gibbs hasn't been too physical with a suspect before. But in the past, it hasn't been so obvious, and his bosses and teammates had been able to cover for him.
This time, he wasn't nearly as subtle, just whaling on Stana, the loathsome dog-fighting ring operator.
Events earlier in NCIS Season 18 definitely led to this.
He and Fornell bringing down the opioid kingpin only to have Emily, Toby and Diane's daughter, end up overdosing on NCIS Season 18 Episode 9 had to be a real body blow.
He must have felt the futility of thinking he had gotten Emily justice only to have the drug still kill her.
Then there was shooting McGee, his lieutenant, longest-serving teammate, and friend on NCIS Season 18 Episode 5. Sure, he did it for a good reason, to save McGee's life, but things were touch and go for a while. He had to be kicking himself that he couldn't come up with a better solution.
Finally, it's impossible to discount the impact of Jack's departure on NCIS Season 18 Episode 8.
Sure, Jack wasn't the well-developed character that she could have been. But she was Gibbs's friend and unofficial shrink, one of the few people to whom he would listen.
And when she started questioning the value of what she was doing, he may have started having similar thoughts.
It was great to see Dr. Grace again filling in for Jack, even if it was by Zoom. I wonder if she'll be used again later in the season.
Vance made a mistake when he didn't insist that Gibbs take more time off after Emily's death. Allowing Gibbs to decide when he was ready to return to work was an error since Gibbs has always dealt with grief by throwing himself into his job.
It quickly became clear that Gibbs came back too soon.
Checking on a Navy fender-bender seemed to be innocent enough. That was until Gibbs discovered there was an injured dog involved and that the dog had been shot, not struck by the vehicle.
Once Gibbs found out that two other dogs had been shot and killed, there was no going back for him. There was a mystery to be solved, an injustice to be righted, no matter how minor others might consider it.
McGee tried to get Gibbs to open up, however futile a gesture that would prove to be.
Nope, Gibbs was on a hunt and was going to find out who was hurting these dogs. And once the old lady pointed him in the direction of Stana, his attack was destined to happen, especially after he found the drowned dogs in the pond.
Unfortunately, his squad showed up after he'd beaten Stana unconscious.
Not that Stana didn't deserve it. But there was still a small matter of proving that. There were procedures to be followed.
Vance had no choice but to suspend Gibbs, and Coyle had to investigate the assault on Stana. Gibbs told McGee to tell the truth, and his team did exactly the opposite.
The team tried to cover for Gibbs, but he was ready to throw himself on a grenade for them. No wonder that didn't work out too well.
The version where Stana attempts to flee but injures himself tripping and falling, was laughable. No one was buying that, least of all Coyle.
What they should have been doing was proving that Stana was operating a dog-fighting ring. That would have supported Gibbs' gut call, even if it didn't justify his actions.
Instead, they got booted off the case by Coyle since they were trying to arrest Stana without sufficient evidence.
Vance tried to run interference for Gibbs by producing a fake lawyer to buy the team some time to find convincing evidence against Stana.
Kasie finally found the evidence they needed to tie Stana to the dead dogs, in part thanks to McGee's inadvertent body cam video. McGee again used technology to track down Stana at the scene of the crime.
It seemed too late for Gibbs at that point since he'd sacrificed himself to Coyle to save the team.
Fortunately, Vance had continued to work behind the scenes, visiting Coyle at home, where his two rescue dogs lived, resulting in a vague inspector general's report.
Of course, Lucy went home with Gibbs. Now he has a much-needed therapy dog.
You just knew Gibbs wouldn't apologize to Stana, even if it meant putting Vance in a bad position. Stana deserved the beatdown that Gibbs gave him.
Vance did what he should have done in the first place, giving Gibbs some time off to think. Maybe Vance will require that Gibbs sit down with Dr. Grace.
After a couple of encore weeks, this will be a chance to see what the show looks like without Gibbs since Mark Harmon isn't yet signed for NCIS Season 19.
To follow Gibbs' slow deterioration, watch NCIS online.
Did you see this coming?
Does Gibbs need some time off?
Can the show function without him?
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.