NCIS (TV series)

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The series' opening logo
Created by
Theme music composerNumeriklab
Opening theme"NCIS Theme"
Ending theme"NCIS Theme"
Composer(s)Brian Kirk
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons12
No. of episodes264 (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
  • David Bellisario
  • Avery C. Drewe
CinematographyBilly Webb
Running time42–44 minutes
Production company(s)
DistributorCBS Television Distribution
Original channelCBS
Picture format
Audio formatDolby Digital 5.1 stereo with DVS on SAP channel
Original runSeptember 23, 2003 (2003-09-23) – present
Related shows
External links
Official website
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The series' opening logo
Created by
Theme music composerNumeriklab
Opening theme"NCIS Theme"
Ending theme"NCIS Theme"
Composer(s)Brian Kirk
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons12
No. of episodes264 (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
  • David Bellisario
  • Avery C. Drewe
CinematographyBilly Webb
Running time42–44 minutes
Production company(s)
DistributorCBS Television Distribution
Original channelCBS
Picture format
Audio formatDolby Digital 5.1 stereo with DVS on SAP channel
Original runSeptember 23, 2003 (2003-09-23) – present
Related shows
External links
Official website

NCIS is an American police procedural drama television series, revolving around a fictional team of special agents from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which conducts criminal investigations involving the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.

The concept and characters were initially introduced in two episodes of the CBS series JAG (season eight episodes "Ice Queen" and "Meltdown"). The show, a spin-off from JAG, premiered on September 23, 2003, on CBS. To date it has aired for eleven full seasons and has gone into broadcast syndication on USA Network. Donald P. Bellisario is co-creator, along with Don McGill, as well as executive producer. As such, the series is the second member of the NCIS/JAG franchise.

NCIS was originally referred to as Navy NCIS during season one; "Navy" was later dropped from the title. In season six, a two-part episode led to a spin-off series, NCIS: Los Angeles. A two-part episode in season eleven led to a second spin-off series, NCIS: New Orleans.

In 2011, NCIS was voted America’s favorite television show.[3] The series finished its tenth season as the most-watched television series in the U.S. during the 2012–13 TV season.[4]

On March 13, 2014, CBS renewed the series for a twelfth season,[5] which began airing on September 23, 2014.[6]


NCIS follows a fictional team of Naval Criminal Investigative Service Major Case Response Team (MCRT)[7] special agents of the Washington DC field office, which in reality is located at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling,[8] based at Washington Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. 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) – i.e., crimes punishable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice by confinement of more than one year – within the Department of the Navy. The MCRT is frequently assigned to high-profile cases such as the death of the U.S. president's military aide, a bomb situation on a U.S. Navy warship, the death of a celebrity on a reality show set on a U.S. Marine Corps base, terrorist threats involving U.S Naval and Marine Corps weapons, personnel and/or installations, and kidnappings of Navy and Marine Corps personnel and/or their dependents.

The MCRT is led by Supervisory Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs. Gibbs’ team is composed of Special Agent and Senior Field Agent Anthony "Tony" DiNozzo, Special Agent Timothy McGee, and NSA Analyst & Probationary Special Agent Eleanor Bishop. Previous members include Special Agent (former Mossad liaison officer) Ziva David until she returned to Israel in season eleven, and Caitlin "Kate" Todd who was shot and killed by rogue Mossad agent Ari Haswari, Ziva's half-brother, at the end of season two. The team is assisted in their investigations by Chief Medical Examiner Donald "Ducky" Mallard, his assistant Jimmy Palmer, who replaced Gerald Jackson, and Forensic Specialist Abigail "Abby" Sciuto.

It is revealed, through flashbacks, that the head of the MCRT before Gibbs was Special Agent Mike Franks (Muse Watson), who led the unit when it was part of the Naval Investigative Service (NIS), the predecessor agency of the NCIS. Franks recruited Gibbs shortly after Gibbs' retirement from the Marine Corps, eventually retiring himself some years later. After Franks' departure, Gibbs recruited DiNozzo from the Baltimore Police Department's Homicide Section. The two were briefly joined by Vivian Blackadder (Robyn Lively), whom Gibbs recruited from the FBI. In the second part of the NCIS pilot, Blackadder allowed her emotions to nearly derail an anti-terror operation in Spain. Gibbs is noticeably disappointed; Blackadder is not present in the series' first regular episode, replaced by Caitlin Todd, a Secret Service agent who joins Gibbs' team after resigning from the Secret Service. Todd is eventually killed in the line of duty in the season two finale, and is ultimately replaced by Ziva David, who from season three to season seven is the Mossad liaison officer, and eventually gains American citizenship to become a full agent. McGee first appears as a Field Agent assigned to the Norfolk Field Office. He uses his computer skills to aid the MCRT in subsequent investigations through the rest of season one, until he is officially promoted with his own desk at the Navy Yard in the beginning of season two.

The NCIS is led by Director Leon Vance. The first director seen in the series, Thomas Morrow (Alan Dale), left after being promoted to Deputy Director of the Department of Homeland Security. Jenny Shepard (Lauren Holly) was appointed director after Morrow in the first episode of season three, the first NCIS director to be in the regular series cast list. After Shepard was killed in a shootout at the end of season five, Vance—who was assistant director of NCIS before her death—was seen as acting director after her death and was promoted to take her place, and has appeared also in NCIS: Los Angeles, the first director to appear on a series spin-off.

Cast and characters[edit]

CharacterPortrayed byPositionSeasons
Leroy Jethro GibbsMark HarmonSpecial Agent in ChargeMain
Caitlin ToddSasha AlexanderSpecial AgentMainGuestVoice [note 1]Cameo [note 2]
Anthony DiNozzoMichael WeatherlySenior Special AgentMain
Ziva DavidCote de PabloMossad Officer/Special AgentMain [note 3]MainMain [note 4]
Abby SciutoPauley PerretteForensic SpecialistMain
Timothy McGeeSean MurraySpecial AgentRecurringMain
Jenny ShepardLauren HollyAgency DirectorMain [note 5]MainCameo [note 6]
Jimmy PalmerBrian DietzenMedical Examiner's assistantRecurringAlso Starring[note 7]Main
Eleanor BishopEmily WickershamNSA Analyst / Probationary Special AgentMain [note 8]Main
Leon VanceRocky CarrollAgency DirectorRecurringMain
Donald "Ducky" MallardDavid McCallumChief Medical ExaminerMain
  1. ^ Sasha Alexander appeared in "A Man Walks Into a Bar..." via deleted scenes from earlier seasons; she also recorded a voice-over specifically for this episode.
  2. ^ Sasha Alexander appeared in "Life Before His Eyes" using digitally manipulated CGI footage from the season 2 episode "SWAK".
  3. ^ Cote de Pablo was promoted to series regular in the Season 3 episode Silver War. She was credited as Guest Starring in episodes she appeared in prior to this episode.
  4. ^ Cote de Pablo only appeared in the first two episodes of the eleventh season, but was credited as a main character in both episodes.
  5. ^ Lauren Holly was promoted to series regular in the Season 3 episode Frame Up. She was credited as Guest Starring in episodes she appeared in prior to this episode.
  6. ^ Lauren Holly appeared in "Life Before His Eyes" using digitally manipulated CGI footage from the season 5 episode "Judgment Day".
  7. ^ Although credited as "Also Starring" in seasons 6–9, Brian Dietzen was treated as guest cast by CBS.[9][10][11]
  8. ^ Emily Wickersham was promoted to a starring role in "Kill Chain". Prior to that she was credited as a guest star in episodes in which she appeared.




The filming crew in 2009


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,[19] in order to:

From the season two episode, "Lt. Jane Doe" onwards, the series began using what fans of the show have named 'foofs'[citation needed] – black-and-white 'teases' of something to occur later in the episode. In the season three premiere, "Kill Ari (Part I)", the foofs had the freeze-frame shot added as well.

Crew changes[edit]

It was reported in May 2007 that Donald Bellisario would be stepping down from the show.[21] Due to a disagreement with series star Mark Harmon, Bellisario's duties as showrunner/head writer were to be tasked to long-time show collaborators, including co-executive producer Chas. Floyd Johnson and Shane Brennan, with Bellisario retaining his title as executive producer.[22] In fall 2009,[clarification needed] 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.[23]


Main article: List of NCIS episodes

Eleven complete seasons of NCIS have aired, with the twelfth season beginning on September 23, 2014.[24] As of October 28, 2014, 264 original episodes of NCIS have aired.[2]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
Season premiereSeason finale
Intro2April 22, 2003 (2003-04-22)April 29, 2003 (2003-04-29)
123September 23, 2003 (2003-09-23)May 25, 2004 (2004-05-25)
223September 28, 2004 (2004-09-28)May 24, 2005 (2005-05-24)
324September 20, 2005 (2005-09-20)May 16, 2006 (2006-05-16)
424September 19, 2006 (2006-09-19)May 22, 2007 (2007-05-22)
519September 25, 2007 (2007-09-25)May 20, 2008 (2008-05-20)
625September 23, 2008 (2008-09-23)May 19, 2009 (2009-05-19)
724September 22, 2009 (2009-09-22)May 25, 2010 (2010-05-25)
824September 21, 2010 (2010-09-21)May 17, 2011 (2011-05-17)
924September 20, 2011 (2011-09-20)May 15, 2012 (2012-05-15)
1024September 25, 2012 (2012-09-25)May 14, 2013 (2013-05-14)
1124September 24, 2013 (2013-09-24)May 13, 2014 (2014-05-13)
1224[2]September 23, 2014 (2014-09-23)TBA

Backdoor pilots[edit]



Seasonal rankings (based on average total viewers per episode) of NCIS.

Note: Each U.S. network television season starts in late September and ends in late May, which coincides with the completion of May sweeps.
SeasonEpisodesTimeslot (EST)Original airingLive television ratings
Season premiereSeason finaleTV seasonViewers
(in millions)
Key demographics
1st23Tuesday 8:00 PMSeptember 23, 2003May 25, 20042003–0411.84[25]26thN/A
2nd23September 28, 2004May 24, 20052004–0513.57[26]22ndN/A
3rd24September 20, 2005May 16, 20062005–0615.27[27]16thN/A
4th24September 19, 2006May 22, 20072006–0714.54[28]20thN/A
5th19September 25, 2007May 20, 20082007–0814.41[29]14thN/A
6th25September 23, 2008May 19, 20092008–0917.77[30]5thN/A
7th24September 22, 2009May 25, 20102009–1019.33[31]4th4.1[32]
8th24September 21, 2010May 17, 20112010–1119.46[33]5th4.1[34]
9th24September 20, 2011May 15, 20122011–1219.49[35]3rd4.01[36]
10th24September 25, 2012May 14, 20132012–1321.34[4]1st4.0[4]
11th24September 24, 2013May 13, 20142013–1419.77[37]3rd3.3[38]
12th24[2]September 23, 2014TBA2014–15TBATBATBA



Home video releases[edit]

The first nine seasons of NCIS have been released in Regions 1, 2 and 4. In Germany (Region 2), seasons 1–4 and 6–8 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.

Other releases[edit]

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.[48]

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 to the show by reviewers and players alike, and received a 2/10 rating on GameSpot.[49]

TV movies[edit]

In the UK, certain NCIS two-part episodes were edited together to make a combined feature and shown on Channel 5, 5USA, CBS Action and Fox UK. These include:

TitleEpisodes edited togetherAir dateRuntimeSource
The NCIS Movie: Kill Ari"Kill Ari (Part I)" / "Kill Ari (Part II)"TBATBA[50][51]
The NCIS Movie: Enemies"Enemies Foreign" / "Enemies Domestic"May 20, 20131 hr, 20 mins[52][53]
The NCIS Movie: Judgement Day"Judgment Day (Part I)" / "Judgment Day (Part II)"June 10, 20131 hr, 40 mins[54]
The NCIS Movie: Legend
(Legend Compilation)
"Legend (Part I)" / "Legend (Part II)"June 10, 20131 hr, 45 mins[55][56]
The NCIS Movie: War on Terror"Engaged (Part I)" / "Engaged (Part II)"February 1, 20141 hr, 20 mins[57]
The NCIS Movie: Payback"Borderland" / "Patriot Down" / "Rule Fifty-One"March 1, 20142 hr, 35 mins[58]
The NCIS Movie: Shell Shock"Shell Shock (Part I)" / "Shell Shock (Part II)"April 11, 20141 hr, 30 mins[59]
Death Wish (Part I & II)"Shabbat Shalom" / "Shiva"April 16, 2014 (1)
April 18, 2014 (2)
1 hr, 40 mins[60][61]


Main article: NCIS (soundtrack)

CBS Records released the show's first soundtrack on February 10, 2009.[62] 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[63] (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 Cote 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.


NCIS: Los Angeles[edit]

Main article: NCIS: Los Angeles

In 2009, CBS picked up an NCIS spin-off series with the title NCIS: Los Angeles.[64][65][66][67] Filming began in February 2009, with the characters introduced in a two-part NCIS episode titled "Legend" which aired on April 28, 2009 and May 5, 2009.[65] The characters listed were: G. Callen, Lara Macy, Nate "Doc" Getz, Kensi Blye, and Sam Hanna.[68] Crew members include Michael B. Kaplan, Lev L. Spiro, Jerry London, Sheldon Epps, and Mark Saraceni.[69]

Chris O'Donnell plays the lead character of G. Callen.[70] LL Cool J, plays the role of Special Agent Sam Hanna, a former Navy SEAL, who works in the undercover unit of NCIS in Los Angeles, and is also fluent in Arabic and an expert on Middle Eastern culture."[66] Peter Cambor and Daniela Ruah were confirmed to be cast as leads, playing a psychologist (called "Nate") and forensic investigator/undercover agent (called "Kensi") respectively.[68]

Following the shows official pick up, Louise Lombard was not signed for the role of Special Agent Lara Macy, that she had played in the pilot. Linda Hunt and Adam Jamal Craig were confirmed to replace her, playing OSP Manager Henrietta Lange and Special Agent Dom Vail, both starring roles. Craig left the series in episode 21 of season 1, was replaced by Eric Christian Olsen playing Marty Deeks,[71] the LAPD/NCIS Liaison and Kensi's partner.

Characters from NCIS have appeared in the spin-off; Leon Vance has a recurring role and Abby Sciuto appeared in the episodes "Random on Purpose" and "Killshot".

NCIS: Los Angeles is created by Shane Brennan. NCIS creator Donald Bellisario sued CBS over NCIS: Los Angeles in April 2011 because of his "first opportunity" to develop a spin-off, which according to the suit, Bellisario wasn't offered from CBS.[72] In June 2012 a Court judge dismissed Bellisario's suit.[73] In January 2013, CBS and Bellisario reached a settlement in the lawsuit. Although terms were not disclosed, they were described as being amicable.[74][75][76]

NCIS: New Orleans[edit]

Main article: NCIS: New Orleans

In September 2013 CBS announced a planned second spin-off series set in New Orleans and introduced via a planted pilot two-part NCIS episode. The episodes were filmed in February 2014 and aired in a two-part episode on March 25, 2014 and April 1, 2014. NCIS star Mark Harmon and showrunner Gary Glasberg are the executive producers, and CBS Studios will produce the series.[77] "Crescent City", the two-part backdoor-pilot episode was initially "supposed to be just an idea for an episode". Glasberg discussed the idea of the episode with Harmon, who said "That's more than [an] [...] episode".[78] The premise for the episodes are, according to Glasberg, "all about this tiny little NCIS office that’s down [in New Orleans], and the kind of cases that they come across".[79]

The series will star Scott Bakula as Special Agent Dwayne Cassius Pride, Paige Turco as his wife Linda,[80] Lucas Black as Special Agent Christopher Lasalle, Zoe McLellan as Special Agent Meredith "Merri" Brody, and C. C. H. Pounder as Dr. Loretta Wade.[81][82][83]

On May 9, 2014, NCIS: New Orleans was picked up by CBS.[84]

Awards and nominations[edit]

ALMA Award


BMI Film & TV Awards

California on Location Awards

Emmy Awards

NAACP Image Awards

People's Choice Awards

Imagen Foundation Awards

Young Artist Awards

International distribution[edit]


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