Leon James Vance is the Director of NCIS in all 3 versions of the show. Director Vance oversees all Operations from NCIS Headquarters, Located in Washington, D.C. He reports directly to the Secretary of The Navy (SecNav).
- Season 1
- Season 2
- Episode 24: Familia
- Season 3
- Episode 1: Lange, H.
- Season 6
- Episode 3: Praesidium
Vance is Originally from Ohio but Grew up in Chicago where he Trained to be a Boxer. His Wife states that Vance Attended the U.S. Naval Academy and was Commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps, but was Forced to take a Medical Discharge before ever Serving Due to Surgery to Repair a Detached Retina Suffered During his Boxing Career. However, Ducky later Reveals to Gibbs that Vance's close Childhood Friend, Tyler Owens, who had Died, and also Suffered a Detached Retina. Vance also Reveals that it was this Friend who Decided that Vance should leave Chicago while he stayed behind. Vance says this despite his Insistence to Gibbs that His Friend was a Marine, though there is No Record of His Friend's Service in the Military. This Episode strongly Infers that Owens and Vance Switched Identities in Order for the Current Vance to have a Future.
In 1991, Vance was a Student at the Naval War College in Rhode Island, and began to take an Interest in Black Operations. He even imagines one Himself: Operation Frankenstein, which would later play a big part in the NCIS Season Eight Finale. NIS (Later Renamed NCIS) takes an Interest in him and he is Recruited by Special Agent Whitney Sharp. Vance is Trained by Sharp and after a Six-Week Training Course, Leaves for an Operation in Amsterdam, Codenamed: Trident. He Meets his Handler, Riley McAllister, who tells him that the Target is a Russian Agent known to Vance only as "The Russian". NIS believes he is Bribing Sailors for Intelligence. Vance Meets Eli David, a Promising Mossad Agent, who tells him he knows of the Operation and that the Russian will Kill him. Later, Eli betrays Vance to the Russian but it is Revealed that this is so he can Kill him Himself. Eli also tells Vance he has been chosen because he is Expendable and would not be missed. Eli and Vance Kill the Russian's Hit Team, but the Russian Manages to Escape. Eli is unable to find him or who he was. Vance is Credited with the Elimination of the Hit Team and he starts to Rise swiftly through the Ranks at NCIS. He keeps believing, along with Eli, that there was a Dirty Agent in NCIS, who had really Tipped off the Russian about Vance's Mission. It is Later Revealed that this is McAllister; an Expert on Russia, he saw that the Soviet Union's Collapse had Diverted Attention onto the Middle East, and Planned to have Vance Killed by a Russian Operative to show that Russia still Posed a Major Threat, thus setting himself up for the Directorship of NCIS.
Then-Assistant Director Vance takes over for Jenny Shepard in her Absence, Establishing himself as a Formidable Presence with Gibbs and The Major Case Response Team. He scatters Tony, McGee, and Ziva to Various Departments and Assigns Gibbs a New Team upon being Named Director; however, it is later Revealed that he did this to flush out a Mole in The Agency. Vance and Gibbs Clash during this Span, Prompting a Cold War between them which ends with a Détente at the Start of NCIS Season Six. However, the Two Clash Later on as Gibbs feels he cannot fully Trust Vance, though he cannot Identify a Specific Reason why. Vance Spearheads the Investigation into Shepard's Death and is Angered greatly when he is not kept in the Loop by Gibbs and Mike Franks, who ultimately Manipulate the Situation to Exonerate Shepard from her Past Failure, not what Vance had in mind. After Shepard's Death, he Lobbies the Secretary of The Navy hard to take over NCIS, but SecNav Informs Gibbs of a Major Operation which will Require Vance to Serve as it’s Head,and that NCIS and the Navy will need Gibbs and Vance to get along. Things come to a Head when Gibbs Accuses Vance of Selling out His Team to Mossad Director Eli David. Vance Responds that Ziva is a Plant, used to get Mossad a Foothold in NCIS through Gibbs. Vance also Reveals that he knows about the True Story of the Death of Ari Haswari. After this, the two of them Realize that circumstances will prove one of them right. At the Start of Season Seven, Vance Approves Ziva's Transfer to NCIS, Proving that Gibbs was Right, and Ziva is Loyal to NCIS. Despite his Professional Attitude towards The Major Case Response Team, Vance shows that he does care about them at least once when Alejandro Rivera Threatens Abby. He tells Rivera to Leave before he gets Hurt and when Rivera asks by whom, he replies Angrily: "By Me”.
After the Events of the Episode: Aliyah, Vance is shown to still be in Official Contact with Eli David in his Capacity as Director of Mossad. This is shown when he Receives a Text Message on his Phone from Eli which says only: "I found him". Vance also Refuses to discuss a Phone Call from Eli with Gibbs, despite knowing how dangerous Eli is, and despite his Precarious Relationship with Gibbs and The Major Case Response Team. Upon being Promoted to the Director's Position at the end of NCIS Season Five, Vance Immediately goes to Former Director Shepard's Office, and is seen to Shred a Single Mysterious Document from his Own Personnel File. It is Later Revealed in NCIS Season Six that the Document was Written by his Supervising Agent at the Time. SecNav tells Gibbs that the File is a Fabrication and that he thought all Copies had been Destroyed. It is further Revealed that the Head of the NCIS San Diego Field Office, when Vance was Assigned there, had Begun Creating a Legend for Vance that Incorporated Fictitious Information about Vance in Order to Backstop a Deep Cover Assignment, including the False Information that Vance had been a Pilot and Director of a Field Office.
NCIS: Los Angeles Season 1
Vance made his debut appearance in the NCIS: Los Angeles Season One Premiere Identity, where he had a Conference Call with the Office of Special Projects (OSP) team in Los Angeles with Vance Informing them of the Murder of Naval Commander Frank McGuire and that it was of Interest to NCIS Due to the Fact that McGuire had Detailed Knowledge of the Mexican Drug Cartels and Information about Operation Dakota, a Operation Targeting the Drug Cartels.