“NCIS” gave “Pulp Fiction” a couple of shout-outs throughout episode 17 of Season 3, titled “Ravenous.” Ziva David (Cote de Pablo) first pointed out that Jackrabbit Slim’s – a store located in Shenandoah National Park — was a reference to the same restaurant Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman) stopped at during their night out in the 1994 film. As one could imagine, the resident film and TV expert of the NCIS, Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly), took immediate notice of his teammate’s big screen knowledge and commended her for pointing that out.
The second “Pulp Fiction” reference arrived toward the end of “Ravenous,” this time during an interaction between Abby Sciuto (Pauley Perrette) and Jethro Gibbs. She opens a box containing a birthday gift from him, revealing a soft glow from the inside. “This is so ‘Pulp Fiction,'” remarked Gibbs, drawing a comparison between Abby’s gift and the ominous glowing briefcase from the aforementioned film. Every time Marsellus Wallace’s (Ving Rhames) enigmatic suitcase was opened, the audience wasn’t shown its contents, aside from the gold light emanating from it. To this day, we have no idea what it actually contained, resulting in rampant speculation over the years.
The tendency of “NCIS” to toss in a cultural reference here and there goes a long way in making the show feel grounded and connected to the real world. After all, who hasn’t made a reference to “Pulp Fiction” in their day-to-day life by now?