Yankee White is the series premiere episode of NCIS and also the 1st episode of the entire NCIS series.
It is the first-ever episode to introduce Sasha Alexander as Caitlin Todd, a Secret Service Agent assigned to the Presidential Protection Detail on Air Force One and who later permanently joins the NCIS team as Vivian Blackadder's replacement while also marking the debut appearances of both Gerald Jackson, the NCIS Medical Examiner Assistant and FBI Agent Tobias Fornell.
When a Navy Commander collapses and dies after having lunch with the President of the United States on board Air Force, the NCIS team investigate in order to determine if the death was accidental or something far more sinister.
- Secret Service Agent/ future NCIS Special Agent Caitlin Todd, FBI agent Tobias Fornell and Medical Examiner Assistant Gerald Jackson are all introduced for the first time.
- "Yankee White" is the first ever episode of NCIS as a stand-alone series. The NCIS team of Leroy Jethro Gibbs, Anthony DiNozzo, Abigail Sciuto and Donald Mallard as well as NCIS Director Thomas Morrow all originally appeared in the JAG Season 8 episodes, Ice Queen (episode) and Meltdown (episode), both of which served as a backdoor pilot for the main NCIS series. In addition to that, "Yankee White" also includes some music that was also originally heard in both "Ice Queen" and "Meltdown".
- The TV in Gibbs's house is playing CBS, but later in the series, they use Zulu News Network, a fictional news network carried over from NCIS's parent series, JAG (series).
- After watching a reporter go in to see the President alone, Gibbs references a Tom Clancy novel in which a terrorist hijacked a plane and crashed it into the Capitol and notes the novel was published before September 11 (the 1994 novel was "Debt of Honor"). Gibbs then points out a movie starring Harrison Ford as the President in which terrorists pose as reporters and hijack Air Force One (the 1997 movie was aptly named "Air Force One"). In the movie, the Secret Service agent who betrayed the President had the last name "Gibbs." The airplane set used as Air Force One in this episode was also used in the Harrison Ford film.
- The coroner states that the body is in Wichita County while the Secret Service and FBI are arguing over jurisdiction, but this is inaccurate since the city of Wichita is located in Sedgwick County in southeast Kansas, which is 250 road miles from Wichita County in western Kansas.
- While Tony's driving to the crime scene where Major Kerry's body is, a camera man can be seen sitting in the passenger seat, presumably filming the scene itself.
- "Yankee White" is a special security investigation considered the nation's most rigorous security background check in which candidates must pass in order to work for the Defense Communications Agency. The criteria include U.S. citizenship, unquestionable loyalty, and an absolute absence of any foreign influence over the individual, his family, or "persons to whom the individual is closely linked."
- Fornell's first name was revealed to be Tom although it was later changed to Tobias in later episodes, presumably so that he wouldn't be confused with Thomas Morrow, the NCIS Director who was played by actor Alan Dale and who also appeared throughout Season 1 and 2, having originally debuted in the two-parter episodes, "Ice Queen" and "Meltdown".
- When Abby remarks "What are you, my priest?" about Tony's "Bless you", he then counters with "Curse you?". This could be a reference to the fact that Michael Weatherly (Tony DiNozzo) played a warlock named Brendan, who wanted to become a priest in the Season 1 episode, "When Bad Warlocks Turn Good" in the TV series "Charmed".
- This episode also marks the first appearance of the Mysterious Red-Head, an unidentified woman often seen with Gibbs during the first three seasons of NCIS.
- This is also the only episode of the entire NCIS series to have a remixed version of the NCIS theme song although it was later presumably dropped in favor of the original version of the NCIS theme song that Numeriklab created. On the Region 2 DVD, the first three audio options: English, Italian and French all have the original remix version while the German version has the original version of the main NCIS theme song.
|Leroy Jethro Gibbs||Mark Harmon||An NCIS Special Agent in charge of the main NCIS Major Case Response Team.|
|Anthony DiNozzo Junior||Michael Weatherly||The Senior Agent of the main NCIS Major Case Response Team and also the second-in-command.|
|Caitlin Todd||Sasha Alexander||A Secret Service Agent assigned to the Presidential Protection Detail on Air Force One. Later resigns from the Secret Service at the end of the episode, eventually joining NCIS and as a result, she becomes DiNozzo's partner and also the Junior Agent of the team.|
|Abigail Sciuto||Pauley Perrette||A Goth who is also the Chief Forensic Scientist for the NCIS Major Case Response Team.|
|Donald Mallard||David McCallum||NCIS's Chief Medical Examiner.|
|Thomas Morrow||Alan Dale||Director of NCIS.|
|Mysterious Red-Head||Vivienne Bellisario||Unidentified female companion of Leroy Jethro Gibbs.|
|Gerald Jackson||Pancho Demmings||Assistant Medical Examiner for NCIS who helps Ducky with various tasks.|
|Tobias Fornell||Joe Spano||Agent, FBI.|
|William Baer||Gerry Becker||United States Secret Service and head of the Presidental Protection Detail. Codename is "Slammer".|
|Elmo Poke||Gary Grubbs||Local Coroner of Wichita, KS and a friend of Ducky's.|
|Ray Trapp||Gerald Downey||Commander in the United States Navy and the Football Carrier for Air Force One.|
|Timothy Kerry||Dane Northcutt||Major in the United States Marine Corps.|
|Burger||Michael Adler||President's Physician and also a Captain in the United States Navy.|
|Leonard Rish||Robert Bagnell||Reporter and also a terrorist who was given the task of assassinating the President but was later shot dead by Gibbs when he resisted arrest.|
|Carl Pritchard||Dwayne Macopson||Major in the United States Marine Corps and the new Football Carrier in the aftermath of Navy Commander Ray Trapp's death.|
|Mark (Yankee White)||Lawrence Pressman||Director of the United States Secret Service.|
|Charlie (Yankee White)||Gregory Itzin||Federal Bureau of Investigation.|
|George W. Bush||Steve Bridges||President of the United States.|
|Bowman||Jeremy Overstreet||Federal Agent with an unidentified federal agency.|
|Andy Kochofis||Asante Jones||Detective and Homicide Investigator with Metro P.D.|
|Dennis (Yankee White)||Michael Maize||TSA Guard assigned to the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Washington D.C.|
|Secret Service Agent 1||Ron Brosh||United States Secret Service. Uncredited role.|
|Secret Service Agent 2||Michael Calder||United States Secret Service. Uncredited role.|
|NCIS Agent 1||Paul Majors||NCIS. Uncredited role.|
|FBI Agent||Gerald McCullouch||Federal Bureau Investigation.|
|Bobby (Yankee White)||Richard Anthony Crenna||Chief Steward Aboard Air Force One.|
|Medic||Jennifer Weston||Dr. Burger's assistant. Uncredited role.|
|Doris McMillon||Doris E. McMillon||Reporter for CBS.|
|Stan||Scott Fishkind||Rish's Cameraman who accompanied Rish to Wichita. Uncredited role.|