NICS Cast. Photo: Movies Rankings
NICS Cast. Photo: Movies Rankings

NCIS returned with back-to-back episodes that revealed what was behind Gibbs’ shooting of McGee in the season premiere as we come to the climax of Gibbs and Fornell’s crusade to find the head of the drug ring responsible for Fornell’s daughter Emily’s overdose. According to Sean Murray, it’s an “amazing” episode that you won’t want to miss.

NCIS Season 18, Episode 9

Episode 9 of NCIS season 18, titled Winter Chill, is kick-started when the body of a navy officer is found frozen in a food delivery truck. Upon investigating, it becomes clear that the victim was caught in the middle of a fast-food war taking place between a pair of feuding corn trucks. While the corn wars rage on, Tobias Fornells reveals that he is planning to move to Costa Rica as he’s nearing retirement.

However, the happy announcement is forgotten when Fornell’s daughter, Emily is rushed to the hospital. Just before the final commercial break of the episode, Gibbs receives a phone call from Fornell explaining that Emily has been taking to the hospital. We then find the pair in the waiting room as they anxiously hope for good news.

Emily had relapsed from her previous drug addiction and overdosed on pills that were found in her room. Tragically, it’s confirmed that Emily did not make it, meaning that Tobias has now lost his wife and daughter. To mark Emily’s passing, Director Vance gives us and the distraught cast a rendition of Merrit Malloy’s poem, Epitaph, as reported by HITC.

What was the Poem on NCIS Season 18, Episode 9?

Photo: News Break
Photo: News Break

At the end of Tuesday’s episode of NCIS (Season 18, Episode 9, “Winter Chill”), Tobias Fornell (Joe Spano) got the call that all parents dread: his daughter, Emily Fornell (Juliette Angelo), had relapsed and was rushed to the hospital following an overdose. Unfortunately, Emily died, and the episode concluded with a heart-wrenching poem read by Director Vance (Rocky Carroll) about our spirits living on after we die.

The poem featured in NCIS last night is titled “Epitaph” by Merritt Malloy. The first two verses are as follows:

When I die

Give what’s left of me away

To children

And old me that wait to die.

And if you need to cry,

Cry for your brother

Walking the street beside you.

And when you need me,

Put your arms

Around anyone

And give them

What you need to give to me.

Many viewers took to social media to praise NCIS for its poignant moment. "I applaud NCIS for being real," one tweeted. "Addiction doesn't always have a happy ending. The poem Epitaph was beautiful."

Jimmy Palmer actor Brian Dietzen, meanwhile, warned his followers that they were in for an emotional journey. He tweeted, "East coast and central! #GrabYerGear And watch tonight's new @NCIS_CBS...and have your tissues ready."

This is not the first time the poem has had a moment of fame. In October 2019, "Epitaph" was featured on news site Upworthy after musician David Joyce posted the poem and saw it go viral, with over 125,000 shared in a week.

In this post, he wrote: "This poem is stunning. Just wanted to share it. It is used in the Reform Jewish liturgy, as optional reading, before Kaddish.

"Every once in a while, a poem or song is so well constructed, so clearly conveys the authors meaning and is so precisely expressive that it becomes something of an anthem.

Why did NCIS kill off Emily?

Emily’s tragic death came after her father Tobias had announced his Costa Rican retirement plan.

This hasn’t been confirmed by any of the show’s writers but Emily likely didn’t want her dad to leave her, prompting her to take the fatal overdose.

Ever since she was introduced to NCIS, Emily has endured some of the toughest times imaginable; from the death of her mother to her drug addiction.

Gibbs and Fornell had worked tirelessly to put those behind Emily’s drug addiction behind bars but despite all of the people they did save, Emily would still become another victim.

The biggest question that still remains is what happens next for Tobias Fornell? Will he continue with his retirement plan now that he has no familial connections in Washington or will he elect to stay?

Merrit Malloy Poems

The poem Epitaph was written by Merrit Malloy and as one of those poems, has become a staple of funeral and memorial services...for good reason."

Malloy's last book of poetry, The Cost of Living, was published in 2013. On that collection, her bio read as follows, "Merrit Malloy is a best-selling poet...She is the author of 28 books and enjoys a worldwide following...She now lives in Montecito, California and has two grown daughters and one spectacular grandson, Jack Riley."

Her poem's appearance on NCIS Season 18 is not the first time that her words have been heard on TV and film. She also wrote the words for two songs "Born to Have It All" and "I Never Dreamed Someone Like You Could Love Someone Like Me," which can be heard at the start of the prom sequence in the classic horror movie Carrie.

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