The NCIS franchise, known for its quick resolution of heinous crimes in around 39 minutes (plus commercials), has proven to be a lucrative endeavor in the world of television. Donald Bellisario and Don McGill’s brainchild, which stemmed from the JAG spinoff in 2003, has captivated audiences with its unwavering dedication to justice, camaraderie, and even surprising crossovers with American Pickers.
True to the nature of crime procedurals, NCIS has embraced the tradition of appending a location to its title, thus providing a platform for a new set of TV actors to earn syndication residuals. The expansion of the NCIS universe is a tale as complex as one cares to delve into.
How many ‘NCIS’ shows are there?
Initially, the straightforward count of NCIS shows stands at five: NCIS (2003), NCIS: Los Angeles (2009-2023), NCIS: New Orleans (2014-2021), NCIS: Hawai’i (introduced in 2021 and still running), and the upcoming NCIS: Sidney, set in Australia and premiering in 2023. Not to be forgotten is NCIS: Red, a spinoff of a spinoff that received a backdoor pilot in 2014 during a two-part story on NCIS: Los Angeles. However, CBS ultimately opted not to proceed with the series.
In a broader view, including JAG as a precursor to NCIS, the count extends to six. If you factor in NCIS: Red, it brings the tally to six and a half.
Yet, the complexity escalates. In 2011 and 2012, NCIS: Los Angeles crossed over with the 2010 CBS reboot of Hawaii Five-0. This connection interweaves with further complexity, as Hawaii Five-0 has intersected with the 2016 reboot of MacGyver and the 2018 reboot of Magnum P.I. If one considers all these shows as an extension of the NCIS shared universe, the count balloons to nine. Pushing the envelope further, it’s nine and a half if you include NCIS: Red.
Now, delving into the intricacies, an episode of the CBS series Scorpion in 2014 featured a cameo by Linda Hunt, reprising her NCIS: Los Angeles role of Hetty Lange. Notably, Scorpion is based on the real-life experiences of IT businessman Walter O’Brien. Moreover, Mike Wolfe, host of the History Channel’s reality series American Pickers, made an appearance on an episode of NCIS in its fifteenth season. If one establishes a tie between NCIS, Scorpion, and American Pickers, and acknowledges their connection to reality, it blurs the line between fiction and reality, encompassing all art and media within the expansive NCIS universe.
In essence, by this intriguing logic, one could consider themselves an NCIS character. It’s certainly a revelation worthy of a call to your dad, who might be more excited than you’d expect.