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NCIS, also known as NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service, 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 a two-part episode of the CBS series JAG (JAG episodes 8.20 and 8.21). The show, a spin-off from JAG, premiered on September 23, 2003 on CBS and, to date, has aired six full seasons and has gone into syndicated reruns on USA Network, Sleuth and Ion Television. Donald Bellisario, who created JAG as well as the well-known series Magnum, P.I. and Quantum Leap, is co-creator and executive producer of NCIS.
NCIS was originally referred to as "Navy NCIS" during Season 1; however, "Navy" was later dropped from the title as it was redundant. NCIS returned for a seventh season on September 22, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. EST and was followed by its spin-off series NCIS: Los Angeles starring Chris O'Donnell and LL Cool J.
NCIS follows a fictional team of Naval Criminal Investigative Service Major Case Response Team (MCRT) special agents headquartered at the 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 comic elements, ensemble acting and character-driven plots.
NCIS is the primary law enforcement and counter-intelligence arm of the United States Department of the Navy, which includes the United States Marine Corps. NCIS investigates all major criminal offenses (felonies)—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 USMC base, terrorist threats, and kidnappings.
The MCRT is led by Supervisory Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon). Gibbs’s team is composed of Special Agent and Senior Field Agent Anthony "Tony" DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly), Special Agent Timothy McGee (Sean Murray) and Probationary Special Agent (formerly Mossad liaison officer) Ziva David (Cote de Pablo), who replaced Caitlin "Kate" Todd (Sasha Alexander) when she was shot by Ari Haswari (Rudolf Martin) at the end of season two. Ari was then killed by his half-sister Ziva at the beginning of season three. The team is assisted in their investigations by Chief Medical Examiner Donald "Ducky" Mallard (David McCallum), Medical Assistant Jimmy Palmer (Brian Dietzen), and Forensic Specialist Abigail "Abby" Sciuto (Pauley Perrette). It has been revealed through flashbacks that the 'original' head of the MCRT was Special Agent Mike Franks, who headed the unit when it was part of NIS. He 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, 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. 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 the first season, until he is officially promoted with his own desk at the Navy Yard in the beginning of the second season. NCIS is currently led by Director Leon Vance (Rocky Carroll). The first director seen in the series, Thomas Morrow (Alan Dale), left after being promoted to Deputy Director of DHS. Jenny Shepard (Lauren Holly) was appointed director after Morrow; she was killed in a shootout at the end of the fifth season, thus making Vance the director of the whole organization.
Cast and characters
The series features seven main cast members, with numerous characters recurring throughout the series.
- Regular cast
The Season 1 Cast
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- Mark Harmon portrays Leroy Jethro Gibbs (season 1–), Special Agent In Charge of the Major Case Response Team. Former Gunnery Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps until 1991 when his wife Shannon and daughter Kelly were killed while in the protection of NIS. The case agent Mike Franks convinced him then to become a Special Agent in 1992.
- Michael Weatherly portrays Anthony "Tony" DiNozzo (season 1–), Special Agent and Senior Field Agent of the Major Case Response Team. Former Peoria, Philadelphia and Baltimore police officer before joining NCIS in 2001.
- Pauley Perrette portrays Abigail "Abby" Sciuto (season 1–), Forensics Specialist.
- David McCallum portrays Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard (season 1–) , Medical Examiner, NCIS. Spent some time as a Medical Examiner in Vietnam, Bosnia and Afghanistan before working for NCIS.
- Sean Murray portrays Timothy McGee (recurring: season 1; season 2–), Special Agent and Junior Field Agent of Major Case Response Team.
- Cote de Pablo portrays Ziva David (season 3–), Special Agent and Probationary Field Agent of Major Case Response Team since season seven. For the four years previous was on the same team as Mossad Liaison Officer.
- Rocky Carroll portrays Leon Vance (recurring: season 5, season 6–), Director of NCIS since season six.
- Also starring
- Brian Dietzen portrays Jimmy Palmer (recurring: season 1–5, season 6–), Assistant Medical Examiner to Dr. Mallard since late season one.
- Former regular cast
- Sasha Alexander portrayed Caitlin "Kate" Todd (season 1–2, guest star: "Kill Ari: 1&2"), Former Special Agent, Secret Service, until season one before working as Special Agent and Field Agent of Major Case Response Team. Died in "Twilight" after being shot by Ari Haswari in a Collateral Damage"
- Lauren Holly portrayed Jenny Shepard (season 3–5), Director of NCIS seasons 3–5. Formerly worked under Gibbs in Europe and former lover of Gibbs. Died in "Judgment Day Part 1" after Natasha (aka Svetlana) sends assassins who kill her in the diner but only after Jenny manages to kill all of them.
- Recurring cast
- Former recurring cast
- Alan Dale portrayed Thomas Morrow (season 1–3), the first Director of NCIS seen in the series. Resigned as Director of NCIS in "Kill Ari Part 1" after being offered a job at Homeland Security.
- Pancho Demmings portrayed Gerald Jackson (season 1) guest star: "Kill Ari: 1&2"), Assistant Medical Examiner to Dr. Mallard during the first season until he was shot by Ari Haswari in Bête Noire. He was Dr. Mallard's assistant two years prior to this and went into rehab after the incident.
- Jessica Steen portrayed Paula Cassidy (season 1–4), Special Agent, NCIS. Killed in a suicide bomb attack in "Grace Period"
- Liza Lapira portrayed Michelle Lee (season 4–6), Special Agent, NCIS. Was assigned to Special Agent DiNozzo's team at the start of Season 4. Reassigned back to the Legal Department after Gibbs returned, and recurred during the fourth season. Returned to Gibbs' team at the end of Season 5 in "Judgment Day Part 2" after being suspected as a mole, and was shot by Gibbs in "Dagger" [to hit her captor behind her] after it was revealed she was captured and blackmailed.
- Susanna Thompson portrayed Hollis Mann (season 4–5), Lt. Colonel, U.S. Army, CID, retired. Love interest of Gibbs seasons 4–5.
- Scottie Thompson portrayed Jeanne Benoit (season 4–5), Doctor at Monroe University Hospital and daughter of arms dealer René Benoit [also known as La Grenouille] Was involved in undercover operation and was love interest of Special Agent DiNozzo from seasons 4–5, her last appearance was in "Internal Affairs".
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 technically redundant. The decision to use this name was reportedly made by CBS, over the objections of Bellisario, in order to:
- Attract new viewers (particularly those of JAG), who might not know the NCIS abbreviation.
- Disambiguate 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).
After its successful first season, the name of the series was shortened to NCIS.
NCIS is set in the Washington, D.C. area but is filmed in Santa Clarita, California. The sound stages are in Santa Clarita. The series is shot throughout southern California.
It was reported in May 2007 that Donald Bellisario would be stepping down from the show. Due to a disagreement with series star Mark Harmon, Bellisario's duties as show runner/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.
Six seasons of NCIS have been aired, with the sixth season ending on May 19, 2009. The seventh season began airing on September 22, 2009.
NCIS has previously had several crossovers with other CBS shows:
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.
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||September 23, 2003
||May 25, 2004
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||September 28, 2004
||May 24, 2005
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||September 20, 2005
||May 16, 2006
||Tuesday 8:00 p.m./7c
||September 19, 2006
||May 22, 2007
||Tuesday 8:00 p.m./7c
||September 25, 2007
||May 20, 2008
||Tuesday 8:00 p.m./7c
||September 23, 2008
||May 19, 2009
||Tuesday 8:00 p.m./7c
||September 22, 2009
||20.47 (to date)
- NCIS became a top 10 program in its fifth season, averaging 15.65 million viewers, despite a WGA strike. Notably, the show is one of the few that has actually increased in viewership as it progresses, as opposed to most shows which decrease in popularity as they fade, and has even been able to finish a strong second to Fox's American Idol, a time slot seen by many as a "death slot" for most series.
- NCIS delivered its largest audience to date in the Season 7 episode "Reunion", averaging 21.37 million viewers. It won its time slot on September 29, 2009 in households (12.9/21), viewers (21.37m), adults 25–54 (6.4/17), and adults 18–49 (4.8/14).
- The show ranked number eighteen (4.793 million viewers) in the list of Nielsen ratings top twenty most-watched cable shows for the week ending January 25, 2009.
- The show ranked number ten (4.535 million viewers), twelve (4.264 million viewers), thirteen (4.221 million viewers), fifteen (4,161 million viewers), seventeen (4.132 million viewers), and twenty (4.081 million viewers) in the list of Nielsen ratings top twenty most-watched cable shows for the week ending March 1, 2009.
- The show ranked sixteen (4.091 million viewers), seventeen (4.084 million viewers), eighteen (4.072 million viewers), and twenty (4.006 million viewers) in the list of Nielsen ratings top twenty most-watched cable shows for the week ending March 29, 2009.
- The show ranked number five (4.492 million viewers), six (4.467 million viewers), eight (4.394 million viewers), nine (4.214 million viewers), fifteen (3.962 million viewers), and seventeen (3.8.58 million viewers) in the list of Nielsen ratings top twenty most-watched cable shows for the week ending May 3, 2009.
- The show ranked number three (4.82 million viewers), six (4.38 million viewers), ten (3.82 million viewers), eleven (3.88 million viewers), and fourteen (3.87 million viewers) in the list of Nielsen ratings top fifteen most-watched cable shows for the week ending November 1, 2009.
The first six seasons of NCIS have been released as full-season boxed sets in Regions 1, 2 and 4. In Germany (which belongs to Region 2), each of season 1 – 4 was released in two DVD-boxes. The first season DVD release omits the two part introductory episode that aired as part of the eighth season of JAG.
||June 6, 2006
||July 24, 2006
||August 10, 2006
||November 14, 2006
||October 16, 2006
||October 12, 2006
||April 24, 2007
||June 25, 2007
||March 15, 2007
||October 23, 2007
||May 19, 2008
||July 10, 2008
||August 26, 2008
||June 22, 2009
||May 7, 2009
||August 25, 2009
||June 23, 2010
||June 3, 2010
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 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.
Main article: NCIS: Los Angeles
CBS has picked up an NCIS spin-off series with the title NCIS: Los Angeles. Filming began in February 2009, with the characters introduced in a two-part NCIS episode entitled "Legend" which aired on April 28, 2009 and May 5, 2009. The characters listed were: G. Callen, Clara Macy, Nate "Doc" Getz, Kensi Blye, and Sam Hanna. Crew members will include Michael B. Kaplan, Lev L. Spiro, Jerry London, Sheldon Epps and Mark Saraceni.
Chris O'Donnell plays the lead character, G. Callen. 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." Peter Cambor and Daniela Ruah were confirmed to be cast as leads of the new spin-off, playing a psychologist (called "Nate") and forensic investigator (called "Kensi") respectively.
Characters from NCIS have appeared in the spin-off; Leon Vance has a recurring role and Abby Sciuto appeared in the episode "Random on Purpose".
Awards and nominations
- Nominated – Outstanding Actress in a Drama Television Series – Cote de Pablo (2008)
- Won – Top TV Series – Matt Hawkins, Maurice Jackson, Neil Martin (2009)
- Won – Top TV Series – Matt Hawkins, Maurice Jackson, Neil Martin (2008)
- Won – Top TV Series – Matt Hawkins, Maurice Jackson, Neil Martin (2007)
- Won – Top TV Series – Matt Hawkins, Maurice Jackson, Neil Martin (2006)
- Won – Top TV Series – Matt Hawkins, Maurice Jackson, Neil Martin (2004)
- Won – Top TV Series – Steven Bramson (2004)
BMI Film & TV Awards
- Won – BMI TV Music Award – Brian Kirk (2009)
- Won – BMI TV Music Award – Brian Kirk (2008)
- Won – BMI TV Music Award – Joseph Conlan (2005)
California on Location Awards
- Won – Location Team of the Year (Episodic Television) – Emily Kirylo, Jim McClafferty, Joel Sinderman, Michael Soleau (2008)
- Nominated – Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series – Cote de Pablo (2009)
People's Choice Awards
- Nominated – Favorite TV Drama (2009)
- Nominated – Favorite TV Drama Actor – Mark Harmon (2009)
Primetime Emmy Awards
- Nominated – Outstanding Stunt Coordination – Diamond Farnsworth, "Requiem" (2008)
- Nominated – Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series – Charles Durning (2005)
Imagen Foundation Awards
- Nominated – Best Supporting Actress/Television – Cote de Pablo (2009)
- Won – Best Supporting Actress/Television – Cote de Pablo (2006)
Young Artist Awards
- Nominated – Best Performance in a TV Series – Guest Starring Young Actor – Dominic Scott Kay, "Lost & Found" (2008)
- ^ Matt Mitovich (June 24, 2009). "Fall TV: CBS Announces Premiere Dates". TV Guide Online. http://www.tvguide.com/News/FallTV-CBS-premieres-1007227.aspx. Retrieved 2009-06-24.
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