NCIS (TV Series 2003– )
|Creator||Donald P. Bellisario|
|Genre||Action, Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller|
|Content Rating||TV-14 (TV-14)|
|Awards||Nominated for 3 Primetime Emmys. Another 27 wins & 37 nominations.|
|Company||Belisarius Productions, Paramount Network Television, CBS Paramount Network Television|
NCIS (TV series)
NCIS is an American police procedural television series, revolving around a fictional team of special agents from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service combining elements of the military drama and police procedural genres. The concept and characters were initially introduced in two episodes of the CBS series JAG (season eight episodes 20 and 21: "Ice Queen" and "Meltdown"). The show, a spin-off from JAG, premiered on September 23, 2003, on CBS. To date it has entered into the eighteenth full season and has gone into broadcast syndication on the USA Network. Donald P. Bellisario and Don McGill are co-creators and executive producers of the premiere member of the NCIS franchise. As of 2021, it is the second-longest-running scripted, non-animated U.S. primetime TV series currently airing, surpassed only by Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999–present), and is the 7th-longest-running scripted U.S. primetime TV series overall.
The series originally had the partly redundant title Navy NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service; this was later shortened to NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service and then to NCIS. In season six, a two-part episode led to a spin-off series, NCIS: Los Angeles. A two-part episode during the eleventh season led to a second spin-off series, NCIS: New Orleans. While initially slow in the ratings, barely cracking the Top 30 in the first two seasons, the third season showed progress, consistently ranking in the top 20, and by its sixth season, it became a top five hit, having remained there since. In 2011, NCIS was voted America's favorite television show in an online Harris Poll. The series finished its tenth season as the most-watched television series in the U.S. during the 2012–13 network television season. NCIS was renewed for an eighteenth season on May 3, 2020, which premiered on November 17, 2020. On April 15, 2021, NCIS was renewed for a nineteenth season.
NCIS follows a fictional team of Naval Criminal Investigative Service Major Case Response Team (MCRT) special agents based at the Washington, D.C. field office in Washington Navy Yard. In real life, the field office is based at the nearby Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, while the Navy Yard is home to the museum and several military commands within the Department of the Navy. It is described by the actors and producers (on special features on DVD releases in the United States) as being distinguished by its comedic elements, ensemble acting, and character-driven plots. The NCIS is the primary law enforcement and counterintelligence arm of the United States Department of the Navy, which includes the United States Marine Corps. NCIS investigates all major criminal offenses (felonies)—for example, crimes punishable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice by confinement of more than one year—within the Department of the Navy.
Cast and characters
- Mark Harmon as Leroy Jethro Gibbs
- Sasha Alexander as Caitlin Todd (main role: seasons 1–2; guest: seasons 3, 8–9, and 12)
- Michael Weatherly as Anthony DiNozzo (main: seasons 1–13)
- Pauley Perrette as Abby Sciuto (main: seasons 1–15)
- David McCallum as Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard
- Sean Murray as Timothy McGee (recurring role: season 1, main: season 2–present)
- Cote de Pablo as Ziva David (main: season 3, episode 4-season 11, episode 2; guest: season 3, episode 1-2, season 16; recurring: season 17)
- Lauren Holly as Jenny Shepard (main: seasons 3, episode 9-season5; guest: seasons 9 and 12; recurring: season 3, episodes 1-8)
- Rocky Carroll as Leon Vance (recurring: season 5; main: season 6–present)
- Brian Dietzen as Dr. Jimmy Palmer (recurring: seasons 1–9, main: season 10–present)
- Emily Wickersham as Eleanor Bishop (guest: season 11, episodes 9–11; main: season 11 episode 12–present)
- Wilmer Valderrama as Nicholas Torres (season 14–present)
- Jennifer Esposito as Alexandra Quinn (season 14)
- Duane Henry as Clayton Reeves (guest: season 13; main: seasons 14–15)
- Maria Bello as Dr. Jacqueline Sloane (main: seasons 15–18 episode 8)
- Diona Reasonover as Kasie Hines (recurring: season 15; main: season 16–present)
- Katrina Law as Jessica Knight (guest: season 18; main: season 19)
Prior to the launch of the first season, advertisements on CBS identified the show as "Naval CIS". By the time of the launch of the first episode, NCIS was airing under the name Navy NCIS, the name it held for the entire first season. Since the "N" in NCIS stands for "Naval", the name "Navy NCIS" was redundant. The decision to use this name was reportedly made by CBS, over the objections of Bellisario, to:
- Attract new viewers (particularly those of JAG), who might not know the NCIS abbreviation
- Distinguish between NCIS and the similarly themed and similarly spelled CBS series CSI and its spinoffs. (The original title, for instance, was often misquoted and parodied as "Navy CSI", something the show itself referenced in the first episode.)
In 2011, NCIS was voted America's favorite television show in an online Harris Poll. NCIS finished its tenth season as the most-watched television series in the U.S. during the 2012–13 network television season. Diona Reasonover joined the main cast in season sixteen, following the departures of Duane Henry and Pauley Perrette. NCIS was renewed for a seventeenth season on April 11, 2019, which premiered on September 24, 2019, and for an eighteenth season in May 2020. The season premiered on November 17, 2020.
From the season two episode "Lt. Jane Doe" onwards, the series began showing two-second-long black-and-white clips. These clips (called "phoofs") are shown at the beginning of every segment depicting the last two seconds of that segment, a segment being the five or six portions of the show meant to be separated by commercials. In the season three premiere, "Kill Ari (Part I)", a freeze-frame shot was also used with the very end of most episodes turned into a freeze frame, as well.
It was reported in May 2007, that Donald P. Bellisario would be stepping down from the show. Due to a disagreement with series star Mark Harmon, Bellisario's duties as showrunner/head writer were to be given to long-time show collaborators, including co-executive producer Chas. Floyd Johnson and Shane Brennan, with Bellisario retaining his title as executive producer. In fall 2009, Gary Glasberg joined the crew and became the new "day-to-day" runner of NCIS, as Shane Brennan had to focus on his new show, the spin-off NCIS: Los Angeles. On September 28, 2016, Glasberg died in his sleep at the age of 50.
NCIS was renewed for an eighteenth season on May 3, 2020, which premiered on November 17, 2020.
|First aired||Last aired|
|Intro||2||April 22, 2003||April 29, 2003||N/A||N/A|
|1||23||September 23, 2003||May 25, 2004||23||7.8|
|2||23||September 28, 2004||May 24, 2005||22||8.8|
|3||24||September 20, 2005||May 16, 2006||12||9.8|
|4||24||September 19, 2006||May 22, 2007||15||9.0|
|5||19||September 25, 2007||May 20, 2008||11||9.2|
|6||25||September 23, 2008||May 19, 2009||5||10.9|
|7||24||September 22, 2009||May 25, 2010||4||11.5|
|8||24||September 21, 2010||May 17, 2011||5||11.8|
|9||24||September 20, 2011||May 15, 2012||2||12.3|
|10||24||September 25, 2012||May 14, 2013||1||13.5|
|11||24||September 24, 2013||May 13, 2014||1||12.6|
|12||24||September 23, 2014||May 12, 2015||2||11.6|
|13||24||September 22, 2015||May 17, 2016||1||12.8|
|14||24||September 20, 2016||May 16, 2017||2||11.4|
|15||24||September 26, 2017||May 22, 2018||2||10.3|
|16||24||September 25, 2018||May 21, 2019||3||9.6|
|17||20||September 24, 2019||April 14, 2020||N/A||N/A|
|18||16||November 17, 2020||May 25, 2021||TBA||10.3|
Two episodes of JAG season 8, "Ice Queen" and "Meltdown", serve as the backdoor pilot of NCIS itself.
These JAG episodes introduced the characters of Jethro Gibbs, Anthony DiNozzo, Vivian Blackadder, Abby Sciuto, and Donald "Ducky" Mallard.
Patrick Labyorteaux appears on NCIS reprising his JAG role as Lt. Bud Roberts in the first-season episode "Hung Out to Dry", and in the fourteenth-season episode "Rogue" and the season fifteen episode "Dark Secrets"; Alicia Coppola returned as Lt. Cmdr. Faith Coleman in "UnSEALed", "Call of Silence", and "Hometown Hero", while Adam Baldwin returned as Cmdr. Michael Rainer in "A Weak Link", and John M. Jackson appeared as retired Rear Admiral A. J. Chegwidden in the season ten episode "Damned If You Do".
NCIS: Los Angeles
The two-part NCIS episode "Legend" serves as the backdoor pilot of NCIS: Los Angeles.
"Legend" introduces Chris O'Donnell as G. Callen, LL Cool J as Sam Hanna, Daniela Ruah as Kensi Blye, and Barrett Foa as Eric Beale.
Rocky Carroll recurs on NCIS: Los Angeles as his NCIS character Director Leon Vance, while Pauley Perrette has appeared twice as Abby, and Michael Weatherly has appeared once as Anthony DiNozzo. NCIS guest stars reprising roles between series include David Dayan Fisher as CIA Officer Trent Kort, in the season finale of NCIS: Los Angeles; Kelly Hu as Lee Wuan Kai in NCIS: Los Angeles and later in an episode of NCIS.
John M. Jackson has appeared on NCIS: Los Angeles as his JAG character Admiral A. J. Chegwidden, while this series has also crossed over with Hawaii Five-0 and Scorpion.
NCIS: New Orleans
The two-part NCIS episode "Crescent City" serves as the backdoor pilot of NCIS: New Orleans.
"Crescent City" introduces Scott Bakula as Dwayne Pride, Lucas Black as Christopher LaSalle, Zoe McLellan as Meredith Brody, and CCH Pounder as Loretta Wade.
Rocky Carroll recurs as Director Leon Vance, while NCIS series regulars Mark Harmon, Michael Weatherly, Pauley Perrette, Sean Murray, Emily Wickersham, Wilmer Valderrama, David McCallum and Brian Dietzen have all appeared as their NCIS characters. NCIS recurring cast members Meredith Eaton, Joe Spano, Diane Neal, and Leslie Hope have all guest-starred on NCIS: New Orleans.
NCIS airs on Network Ten and TV Hits (formerly TV1) in Australia, Global (syndicated on Showcase and Lifetime) in Canada, TV3 and The Box in New Zealand, Seriale+ (premieres), TVN (free-TV premieres), TVN7 (reruns), AXN (reruns), (India) Fox Crime, Star World India (Pakistan) ARY Digital, ARY Zindagi and TV Puls (reruns) in Poland, CBS Justice, Universal UK, Channel Five, Five USA and FOX in the United Kingdom, M6 in France, and RTÉ2 on Wednesdays at 11pm in Ireland, Rai 2 and Fox Crime in Italy.
The first 11 seasons of NCIS have been released in Regions 1, 2, and 4. In Germany (Region 2), seasons 1–4 and 5–8 were released in two separate sets for each season. The first-season DVD omits the two introductory episodes from season eight of JAG, though they are featured on the JAG season eight DVD.
In 2010, CBS Interactive and GameHouse released a mobile video game, NCIS: The Game for iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, and BREW/J2ME. The game features five different cases written by the show's writers.
On November 1, 2011, Ubisoft released a video game adaption of NCIS for the PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii. A Nintendo 3DS version was released on March 6, 2012. The video game was deemed as a mockery of the show by reviewers and players alike, and received a 2/10 rating on GameSpot.
There is also a Facebook and mobile game called NCIS: Hidden Crimes.
In the UK, certain NCIS multi-part episodes were edited together to make a combined feature and shown on Channel 5, 5USA, CBS Action and Fox UK. These include:
|Title||Episodes edited together||Air date||Runtime||Source|
|The NCIS Movie: Enemies||"Enemies Foreign" / "Enemies Domestic"||May 20, 2013||1 hr, 20 mins|
|The NCIS Movie: Judgement Day||"Judgment Day (Part I)" / "Judgment Day (Part II)"||June 10, 2013||1 hr, 40 mins|
|The NCIS Movie: Legend|
|"Legend (Part I)" / "Legend (Part II)"||June 10, 2013||1 hr, 45 mins|
|The NCIS Movie: Kill Ari||"Kill Ari (Part I)" / "Kill Ari (Part II)"||August 22, 2013||2 hrs|
|The NCIS Movie: War on Terror||"Engaged (Part I)" / "Engaged (Part II)"||February 1, 2014||1 hr, 20 mins|
|The NCIS Movie: Payback||"Borderland" / "Patriot Down" / "Rule Fifty-One"||March 1, 2014||2 hrs, 35 mins|
|The NCIS Movie: Shell Shock||"Shell Shock (Part I)" / "Shell Shock (Part II)"||April 11, 2014||1 hr, 30 mins|
|Death Wish (Part I & II)||"Shabbat Shalom" / "Shiva"||April 16, 2014 (1)|
April 18, 2014 (2)
|1 hr, 40 mins|
|The NCIS Movie:|
Race Against Terror: Hiatus
|"Hiatus (Part I)" / "Hiatus (Part II)"||1 hr, 50 mins|
CBS Records released the show's first soundtrack on February 10, 2009. The Official TV Soundtrack is a two-disc, 22-track set that includes brand new songs from top artists featured prominently in upcoming episodes of the series, as well as the show's original theme by Numeriklab (available commercially for the first time) and a remix of the theme by Ministry. The set also includes songs performed by series regulars Pauley Perrette and Coté de Pablo.
A sequel to the soundtrack was released on November 3, 2009. NCIS: The Official TV Soundtrack; Vol. 2 is a single-disc, 12-track set that covers songs (many previously unreleased) featured throughout the seventh season of the show, including one recording titled "Bitter and Blue" by Weatherly, as well as two songs used in previous seasons.
In 2016, The New York Times reported that NCIS "is most popular in rural areas", especially in rural Maine and Pennsylvania.
Seasonal rankings (based on average total viewers per episode) of NCIS.
|Season||Episodes||Timeslot (EST)||Original airing||Live television ratings|
|Season premiere||Season finale||TV season||Viewers|
|1||23||Tuesday 8:00 PM||September 23, 2003||May 25, 2004||2003–04||11.84||26th||N/A|
|2||23||September 28, 2004||May 24, 2005||2004–05||13.57||22nd||N/A|
|3||24||September 20, 2005||May 16, 2006||2005–06||15.27||16th||N/A|
|4||24||September 19, 2006||May 22, 2007||2006–07||14.54||20th||N/A|
|5||19||September 25, 2007||May 20, 2008||2007–08||14.41||14th||N/A|
|6||25||September 23, 2008||May 19, 2009||2008–09||17.77||5th||N/A|
|7||24||September 22, 2009||May 25, 2010||2009–10||19.33||4th||4.1|
|8||24||September 21, 2010||May 17, 2011||2010–11||19.46||5th||4.1|
|9||24||September 20, 2011||May 15, 2012||2011–12||19.49||3rd||4.0|
|10||24||September 25, 2012||May 14, 2013||2012–13||21.34||1st||4.0|
|11||24||September 24, 2013||May 13, 2014||2013–14||19.77||3rd||3.3|
|12||24||September 23, 2014||May 12, 2015||2014–15||18.25||3rd||2.4|
|13||24||September 22, 2015||May 17, 2016||2015–16||16.61||3rd||2.2|
|14||24||September 20, 2016||May 16, 2017||2016–17||14.63||3rd||2.5|
|15||24||September 26, 2017||May 22, 2018||2017–18||17.02||5th||2.2|
|16||24||September 25, 2018||May 21, 2019||2018–19||15.57||3rd||1.9|
|17||20||September 24, 2019||April 14, 2020||2019–20||15.33||2nd||1.7|
|18||16||November 17, 2020||TBA||2020–21||TBA||TBA||TBA|
- Ever since season 7, NCIS has been the most watched scripted show on American television, but it was only in the 2012–13 season that it ranked number 1 as the most watched program of the past year, surpassing both American Idol and NBC Sunday Night Football that had ranked above it the past three seasons.
- On January 15, 2013, NCIS surpassed its previous series high in viewers, with the season ten episode "Shiva" attracting 22.86 million viewers.
NCIS has produced two spin-offs: NCIS: Los Angeles (2009–) and NCIS: New Orleans (2014–).
NCIS: Los Angeles
In November 2008, it was reported that a first spin-off series set in Los Angeles would be introduced with a two-part backdoor pilot during the sixth season of NCIS. The episode title "Legend (Part I)" and "Legend (Part II)", airing on April 28, 2009, and May 5, 2009. On May 2009, CBS picked up an NCIS spin-off series with the title NCIS: Los Angeles.
The series stars Chris O'Donnell as Special Agent G. Callen, LL Cool J as Special Agent Sam Hanna, Louise Lombard as Special Agent Lara Macy, Peter Cambor as Operational Psychologist Nate Getz, and Daniela Ruah as Special Agent Kensi Blye. Following the official pick-up by CBS, it was confirmed that Lombard had not been to continue her role as Special Agent Lara Macy. Linda Hunt and Adam Jamal Craig were added the cast as OSP Manager Henrietta Lange and Special Agent Dom Vail respectively. Craig, would not be returning for second season and was replaced by Eric Christian Olsen as Marty Deeks promoted to series regular.
Characters from NCIS have appeared in the spin-off. Rocky Carroll portrayed as Leon Vance in a recurring role, and Pauley Perrette portrayed as Abby Sciuto with guest appearance in the season 1 episodes "Killshot", and "Random on Purpose".
NCIS: Los Angeles was created by Shane Brennan. In April 2011, NCIS creator Donald Bellisario sued CBS over NCIS: Los Angeles because of his contract which gave him "first opportunity" to develop a spin-off or sequel; the lawsuit was dismissed by a judge in June 2012. However, discussions continued between CBS and Bellisario, and in January 2013 the dispute was settled outside of court a week before it was set to go to trial; the terms of the agreement were not disclosed but were described as being amicable.
NCIS: New Orleans
In September 2013, reported that a second spin-off series set in New Orleans would be introduced with a two-part backdoor pilot during the eleventh season of NCIS. The episode title "Crescent City (Part I)" and "Crescent City (Part II)". The episodes were filmed in February 2014, and aired on March 25, 2014, and April 1, 2014. NCIS star Mark Harmon and showrunner Gary Glasberg are the executive producers of the series. Glasberg discussed the idea of the episode with Harmon, who said "That's more than a sweeps episode" (meaning an episode with provocative subject manner and top appeal for television ratings). The premise for the episodes are, according to Glasberg, "all about this tiny little NCIS office that's down, and the kind of cases that they come across". On May 2014, CBS picked up an NCIS second spin-off series with the title NCIS: New Orleans.
The series stars Scott Bakula as Special Agent Dwayne Cassius Pride, Lucas Black as Special Agent Christopher LaSalle, Zoe McLellan as Special Agent Meredith "Merri" Brody, Rob Kerkovich as Sebastian Lund, and CCH Pounder as Dr. Loretta Wade. Daryl "Chill" Mitchell, Shalita Grant and Vanessa Ferlito joined the main cast later, portrayed as computer specialist Patton Plame, Special Agent Sonja Percy, and Special Agent Tammy Gregorio, respectively.
NCIS and NCIS: New Orleans have had two crossovers.
- "Sister City": Abby's brother is suspected of poisoning the passengers and crew of a private plane flying from New Orleans to Washington, D.C.
- "Pandora's Box: A theoretical terror playbook is stolen and put up for auction on the black market when Abby's homeland security think tank is compromised.
On February 16, 2021, it is reported that a potential spin-off set in Hawaii is in the works from NCIS: New Orleans executive producers Christopher Silber and Jan Nash.
Awards and nominations
NCIS has received many awards and nominations since it premiered on September 23, 2003, including the ALMA Awards, ASCAP Awards, BMI Film & TV Awards, Emmy Awards, and People's Choice Awards.