Bears and Cubs is the 16th episode of NCIS Season 16 and also the 370th episode of the entire NCIS series.
Jimmy finds himself being torn between family loyalty and work after his father-in-law, Ed, asks him to tamper with evidence from NCIS's current murder investigation while Ed's poker buddy, Anthony DiNozzo, Sr., offers to help with the case.
- Donald Mallard officially retires from the role as medical examiner, and officially places James Palmer as his permanent replacement.
- Palmer is revealed to have had an unhappy childhood with an extremely abusive father who died when he was only 10.
- Ed Slater was likewise revealed to be jealous of Palmer, his son-in-law, due to believing the latter had a happy background before learning the above, especially when he had trouble relating to his own son.
- This is the first ever episode of the NCIS series to be directed by Diana C. Valentine as she is known for directing episodes of the NCIS spin-off series, NCIS: Los Angeles.
|Leroy Jethro Gibbs||Mark Harmon||Special Agent in charge of the NCIS Major Case Response Team.|
|Timothy McGee||Sean Murray||Senior Special Agent and second-in command of the NCIS Major Case Response Team.|
|Nicholas Torres||Wilmer Valderrama||Special Agent for the NCIS Major Case Response Team.|
|Eleanor Bishop||Emily Wickersham||Special Agent for the NCIS Major Case Response Team|
|Jacqueline Sloane||Maria Bello||NCIS Forensic Psychologist|
|James Palmer||Brian Dietzen||Medical Examiner for the Major Case Response Team|
|Kasie Hines||Diona Reasonover||NCIS Forensic Specialist; Abby's replacement|
|Leon Vance||Rocky Carroll||Director of NCIS. Despite being credited, Carroll doesn't appear in this episode.|
|Donald Mallard||David McCallum||Chief Medical Examiner for the NCIS Major Case Response Team.|
|Anthony DiNozzo Senior||Robert Wagner||Former Agent DiNozzo's father.|
|Ed Slater||Larry Miller||Jimmy's father-in-law.|
|Henry Deng||Francois Chau|
|Peter Liu||Ping Wu|
|Kevin Braddish||Stephen Caffrey||Logan Braddish's father.|
|Stevie Slater||Jacob Zachar||Ed Slater's wayward son.|
|Kenneth Dent||E-Kan Soong||The youngest son of Henry Deng and the one responsible for kidnapping Stevie Slater and murdering Logan Braddish.|
|Phyllis Wu||Alexandra Bokyun Chun|
|Jen (Bears and Cubs)||Shea Vaughn-Gabor|
|Joe (Bears and Cubs)||Jason Marrs|
|Logan Braddish||Matthew Dunn||Uncredited role.|
|Suplisky||Brandon Irvin||Uncredited role.|
|Mysterious Pedestrian||Dylan Mattina||Uncredited role.|