The NCIS franchise, renowned for its efficient resolution of heinous crimes in roughly 39 minutes (plus commercials), has become a lucrative cornerstone in the television industry. Conceived by Donald Bellisario and Don McGill as a spinoff of JAG in 2003, the NCIS universe has enchanted viewers with its unwavering commitment to justice, camaraderie, and even surprising crossovers, including interactions with “American Pickers.”
Staying true to the tradition of crime procedurals, the NCIS franchise has embraced the practice of appending a location to its title, thereby offering a new canvas for TV actors to earn syndication residuals. The expansion of the NCIS universe is a tale as intricate as one might 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. We shouldn’t forget “NCIS: Red,” a spinoff of a spinoff that had a backdoor pilot in 2014 during a two-part story on “NCIS: Los Angeles.” However, CBS ultimately chose not to proceed with the series.
Taking a broader perspective, considering “JAG” as a precursor to “NCIS,” the count extends to six. If we factor in “NCIS: Red,” it brings the tally to six and a half.
But the complexity deepens. 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 we view 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 we establish a connection between “NCIS,” “Scorpion,” and “American Pickers,” and acknowledge their link to reality, it blurs the line between fiction and reality, encompassing all forms of art and media within the expansive NCIS universe.
In essence, by this intriguing logic, one could consider themselves an NCIS character. It’s undoubtedly a revelation worth sharing with your dad, who might be more excited than you’d expect. The NCIS universe, with its ever-expanding web of connections, continues to surprise and captivate audiences, proving that its legacy goes far beyond solving crimes in under 40 minutes.