15 Things You Didn’t Know About NCIS
Unlike other c***e shows, NCIS devotes itself to fictional c***fe stories involving men and women in the navy. Some of us may think that this scope would essentially be limiting. However, the show has proved that there are plenty of stories to tell throughout its 17 seasons and beyond.
The show’s cast is undoubtedly led by Mark Harmon, who stars as NCIS Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs. Gibbs is far from being a conventional team leader and that is one of the reasons why the show stands out. At the same time, the show has had tons of impressive former cast members as well. These include Michael Weatherly, Cote De Pablo, Pauley Perrette, Sasha Alexander, and Jamie Lee Curtis. Meanwhile, aside from Harmon, the show’s key talents today include Sean Murray, David McCallum, Brian Dietzen, Rocky Carroll, Emily Wickersham, Wilmer Valderrama, Maria Bello, and Diona Reasonover.
And even if you’ve been following NCIS this whole time, we’re willing to bet there are still some things you don’t know about this hit show:
15 The Show Started Out As A JAG Spin-Off
The idea for NCIS was inspired from its parent show JAG. And so, characters from NCIS appeared during two episodes of the legal procedural. In the beginning too, the show had a much longer name – Navy NCIS. Perhaps because of the redundancy, the decision was ultimately made to drop “Navy” from the name.
14 In The Beginning, The Creator Just Couldn’t See Mark Harmon Playing Gibbs
Initially, the show’s creator, Donald Bellisario, wasn’t convinced that Harmon could play the role of Gibbs. Fortunately, he changed his mind upon seeing Harmon’s work as a guest star on The West Wing. According to Collider, Bellisario recalled, “We all looked at that work. And everybody said, ‘He’s Gibbs.’” He added, “I am so lucky to have Mark Harmon as the lead. You have no idea.”
13 Brian Dietzen Was Never Supposed To Become A Series Regular
In the beginning, Brian Dietzen’s character, assistant medical examiner Jimmy Palmer, was only supposed to stay for a day. According to Collider, Dietzen recalled, “I’ll wear glasses, hunch over and stammer a bit.” Unbeknownst to him, his portrayal of the character was a hit. And in the end, he stayed on the show and eventually got promoted to a series regular.
12 Cote De Pablo Typically Did Her Own Stunts Until She Suffered A Neck Injury
From the start, actress Cote De Pablo, who played Ziva on the show, preferred doing her own stunts. However, she had to get more assistance from the stunt team after she injured her neck while filming a stunt in 2012. According to Express, De Pablo recalled, “We were supposed to be in a big restaurant kitchen, and I was being hit by flying cabbage–I still have the bruises on my legs. I woke up in horrible neck pain.”
11 Rocky Carroll’s Character Is Named In Honor Of Former NCIS Agent Leon Carroll
Leon Carroll also worked as the lead technical advisor of the show. Of his character’s name, the actor remarked, “I thought, what an honor.” According to Collider, Carroll also recalled, “And then [showrunner Shane Brennan] said, ‘Either way, we’re going to have him keep a toothpick in his mouth, like you do.’ But the fans hated it! They called him a woodpecker!”
10 Jennifer Aniston Was Nearly Cast For The Role Of Kate Todd
There was a time when Jennifer Aniston was considered for the role of special agent Kate Todd. However, it soon became apparent that the casting wasn’t meant to be. As Collider had explained, “There was an issue, though: she wasn’t done sh00t1ng Friends yet. For her to nab the part, NCIS would’ve had to postpone production by at least a year — and they just couldn’t do that.”
9 Mark Harmon Didn’t Get Along With The Show’s Executive Producer, Donald Bellisario
Behind the scenes, there was a time when tensions were evident between Harmon and Bellisario. One source told TV Guide, “Mark’s been working every single day, 16 hours a day. Don tries to micromanage everything. Script pages get faxed to the set at the last minute, and Mark is tired of dealing with the huge impact that makes on his life.”
8 Pauley Perrette Has A Criminal Science Background
According to People, the actress studies cr1m1nal science, psychology, and sociology at the Valdosta State University in Valdosta, Georgia. Afterward, Perette decided to move to New York and pursue a masters at the John Jay School of Criminal Science. However, she ended up pursuing acting instead. She got interested in acting after she overheard a girl saying she made $3,000 from sh00t1ng a commercial. She told CBS News, “I was thinking, ‘Who has $3,000?’ Like, that’s insane.”
7 To Prepare For Her Role, Cote De Pablo Learned Various Languages, Including Hebrew
Ever professional, De Pablo was hard at work to learn several languages in order to prepare for her role as the ex-Mossad NCIS special agent. She told TV.com, “[Ziva]’s like a little prodigy when it comes to languages and that’s what makes the character fun to play. And it obviously presents a huge challenge to me because whenever they throw something else at me, I just have to sort of tackle it and go with it. But it’s not easy.”
6 Donald Bellisario Sued CBS After The First NCIS Spin-Off Came Out
Bellisario was eventually let go from the show after feuding with Harmon. Nonetheless, that didn’t stop Bellisario from suing CBS upon its release of the spinoff NCIS: Los Angeles. According to Deadline, Bellisario’s attorney released a statement saying, “CBS failed to offer Don Bellisario the opportunity to write or executive produce NCIS:LA, the third installment in the franchise he created.”
5 The Most Wanted Board Sometimes Displays Photos Of Real-Life Terrorists
The show’s ‘Most Wanted’ wall has tendency to display some real-life terrorists. At one point, it even featured 9/11 mastermind Osama Bin Laden. After he was killed, a big red line appeared over his photo. Sometimes, the wall would also feature photos of crew members and show producers.
4 The Show Has Featured An Actual SECNAV
In 2009, United States Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, made an appearance during the November 24th Thanksgiving episode entitled “Child’s Play.” On the show, he played the role of an NCIS agent. Prior to this, former agency director Thomas A. Betro also appeared in an episode that aired in October 2007.
3 Writing Dialogue For Gibbs Is Complicated Since He Says Most Things With Just A Look
While speaking with TV Guide, the late Gary Glasberg, NCIS executive producer, recalled, “We joke about it. but honestly, every one of us does what we call a ‘Gibbs pass’ at some point in our writing process.” Meanwhile, writer Christopher Silber also explained, “On other shows, the lead actor is always counting his lines. But I remember when I first got to NCIS [in 2005], figuring out how to write that character was so complicated.”
2 Mark Harmon Is Involved In Determining Story Arcs For The Characters
During his interview, Glasberg also recalled, “We have constant communication that happens multiple times a day. I see him first thing in the morning; I talk to him when he’s home at night. There’s constant discussion of upcoming stories and ideas and of things that I’d like to do with his character and others.”
1 The Spin-Off NCIS: Red Was Cancelled Before It Even Aired
Whereas NCIS: Los Angeles and NCIS: New Orleans successfully got off the ground, a spin-off called NCIS: Red never got to air. The show starred John Corbett and Kim Raver. According to Digital Spy, CBS president Nina Tassler also remarked, “Sometimes [spinoffs] work and sometimes they don’t,” Tassler said. “Protecting [the franchise] was really