Several years before the series began, Shepard and Gibbs had a relationship while they were stationed in Europe, but Shepard chose to break up with Gibbs and focus on her career. The pair would be reunited when Shepard was named director of NCIS after her predecessor chose to step down. Their close proximity to each other began to stir old feelings, and the pair started a playfully flirtatious relationship, though Jenny made it clear she preferred to keep it professional. Tensions would arise between them, however, as Gibbs’ desire to focus on solving the case would clash with Shepard’s desire as director to either protect the NCIS’ public image or carry out orders from their superiors.
In Season 4, things would become even more strained, as Shepard kept Gibbs out of the loop as she investigated a man named René Benoit, an arms dealer she blamed for the death of her father. Gibbs was upset that Shepard didn’t keep him updated, and grew concerned that she was allowing her personal feelings to cloud her judgment, putting herself and other agents at risk.