Category Archives: NCIS

What TV Shows Are Like NCIS?

Of course it’s easy to say, there are no shows quite like NCIS – that’s why it’s so popular! (NCIS is currently the most-watched drama on TV in the US.) But that’s not helpful to you at all. What you really want to know is: If I like NCIS, what other shows will I like?

At its core, NCIS is a procedural drama with a strongly characterized team who solve interesting crimes. The same could be said for most of the shows listed under “Crime Drama” in the top navigation. Shows that come close to matching NCIS’s particular blend of humor, teamwork, and under-the-surface romance would be Castle and Bones. I consider these three shows to be my favorite crime dramas.

Looking for a little more than just TV’s best crime shows? Then answer me this: Who is your favorite character on NCIS?

If it’s Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly), try Warehouse 13. Secret Service Agent Pete Lattimer (Eddie McClintock) could be Tony’s long-lost brother. Instead of solving murders, you’ll be recovering artifacts with supernatural capabilities, but don’t worry, there’ll be a few corpses and plenty of humor along the way.

If it’s Ziva David (Cote de Pablo), try Nikita. Maggie Q as Nikita may be even more deadly an assassin than Ziva. She’s trying to make up for her past wrongs, even if she has to take out some bad guys and cut some past ties to do it.

If it’s Timothy McGee (Sean Murray), try Chuck. McGee might not have government secrets and skills locked in his brain like Chuck Bartowski (Zachary Levi) does, but both are amazing with computers, not always super-smooth with the ladies, and share a love of geekdom.

If it’s Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon), try Blue Bloods. Police Commissioner Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck) hates the political games as much as Gibbs, and always knows just the right thing to say to his daughter. His son, Danny (Donnie Wahlberg) is stubborn to a fault and follows his gut.

If it’s Abby Sciuto (Pauley Perrette), try Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It’s the only show I can think of that has as many facets as she does, plus her love of everything goth fits in perfectly. It’s hilarious with a dark edge, and full of unique characters. Abby has Buffy’s (Sarah Michelle Gellar) father-daughter relationship, Willow’s (Alyson Hannigan) mad skills, and Anya’s (Emma Caulfield) cheerful and quirky mindset.

If it’s Donald “Ducky” Mallard (David McCallum), try Merlin. Not only does this British show match Ducky’s heritage, but Gaius (Richard Wilson) shares many characteristics with him: medical background, longwindedness, and a fierce loyalty. They both also become a mentor to the young men they teach.

If it’s Jimmy Palmer (Brian Dietzen), try The Big Bang Theory. Leonard Hofstadter (Johnny Galecki) has the same awkward, self-depreciating manner as Palmer, yet still manages to win over (at least eventually) the ladies. Though the science tends to be more theoretical than you’d find in autopsy, this week’s episode did include brain dissection.

If it’s Leon Vance (Rocky Carroll), try Covert Affairs. The agents doing field work hint at Vance’s past, while the political maneuverings touch on his present office. Like Arthur (Peter Gallagher) and Joan (Kari Matchett) Campbell, he’s an expert at negotiating and dealing with foreign agencies.

Who’s your favorite character? Do you agree with my choices of shows? Which shows would you match up with the cast of NCIS?

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NCIS – Nature of the Beast

While NCIS didn’t end on much of a cliffhanger last year, it’s one of my favorite shows and I was really looking forward to spending time with the team again. Much like the season 7 opener, season 9 premieres with a Tony DiNozzo-centered episode in which he narrates what has happened over the intervening months.

Castle ended its first episode of the season with Beckett saying, “I remember everything.” NCIS starts off this episode with Tony saying, “I can’t remember any of it.”

Spoilers below!

Tony was knocked unconscious with a bullet to the vest. His weapon had been discharged twice, and there was blood at the scene, but no body. What was left behind was a bloody NCIS badge that wasn’t Tony’s.

Dr. Rachel Cranston (Kate Todd’s sister) urges him to go back to the beginning and try to put the pieces together, starting with his top-secret assignment from the new Secretary of the Navy. Tony wanted to bring the rest of the team in on the case, but Jarvis refused. Gibbs and the others gradually found out about the assignment, and Gibbs started bothering Jarvis about it and the microchips cut out of the arms of both Levin and Captain Wright. Tony’s assignment also leads him directly to E.J.

In present day, an FBI agent comes to the hospital and tries to talk to Tony. Agent Stratton is played by Scott Wolf, who played Chad Decker on V.

This was one of my favorite lines of the episode:

Tony DiNozzo: Who doesn’t like hot girls who carry guns?

I also loved Gibbs imitating Mike Franks’ voice. It’s nice to know he won’t be forgotten by the team. And Tony quoting three of Gibbs’ rules at Secretary Jarvis was amazing!

While the episode itself was a bit slow, the final twist sets things up nicely for a longer case that should occupy the next half season or more. Looking forward to a “real” episode next week, though!

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NCIS – Baltimore

I had no idea what NCIS was when I first did a search for it in January 2009. A friend had it on a short list of favorite shows on Facebook, and I’d never heard of it before (things like that happen when you don’t get any TV channels at your house). Though I prefer to watch shows from the beginning, I didn’t have Netflix then, and Hulu’s options at that point were pretty limited (I tried watching one of the few first seasons they had – My Name is Earl – and could barely make it through each episode). So I watched one of the newly aired episodes of NCIS, “Roadkill,” and fell in love with the show.

Yes, the crimes were interesting to solve, but what I loved most about the show was the team. Charming DiNozzo with his annoying pranks and hidden depth. Probie McGee with his mad computer skills and tenacity. Mysterious Ziva with her killer reflexes and unfamiliarity with American idioms. Wise Ducky with his keen insights and longwinded stories. Energetic Abby with her Goth looks and thirst for Caf-Pow. And the glue who held everyone together – Leroy Jethro Gibbs.

I went looking for more episodes of NCIS. Never have I watched a show more out of order than this one. CBS had all of the currently airing season 6 up on their website, so I continued watching new episodes as well as watching the start of season 6. Youtube had dozens of episodes uploaded, so I found clumps of consecutive episodes and began watching season 4. And season 1. I eventually bought seasons 1-5 and filled in the final missing pieces, finishing every episode by watching the end of season 3 in mid-September 2009, less than one week before season 7 began.

The latest episode of season 8, “Baltimore,” dives into the past for the previously untold story of how Gibbs and DiNozzo met, and how Tony went from being a Baltimore homicide detective to being an NCIS agent. The flashbacks add relevance to the current investigation into the murder of DiNozzo’s old partner.

While the episode had many treasures, from the origins of Tony’s Mighty Mouse stapler to Gibbs giving him his first head slap, and while it also brought to light not just one, but two “new” Gibbs’ rules, one thing didn’t ring quite true. I couldn’t quite see what it was about DiNozzo that caused Gibbs to invite him to NCIS. With Kate, McGee, and Ziva, it was much more clear why Gibbs wanted them on his team. They were gifted. Outstanding. Motivated.

Anthony DiNozzo, however, seems to play the role of everyman and jokester in the show (not unlike the role Xander plays on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, come to think of it). He’s not the “best” at anything – unless you count movie references – and seems to spend a good portion of his time goofing off. Yet he’s unflinchingly loyal, and his unorthodox methods often give results when others fail. As Tony himself puts it in “Truth or Consequences” (season 7, episode 1), “I’m the wildcard. I’m the guy who looks at the reality in front of him and refuses to accept it.”

Yet these things that make DiNozzo such a great member of the team aren’t very evident in the flashbacks of “Baltimore.” You see his unique interrogation style (and it doesn’t show if Gibbs even sees that) and his ability to read people. That void in the story, plus my added anticipation for this episode, meant that it didn’t wow me. It was good, but not one of NCIS’s best episodes (the aforementioned “Truth or Consequences” is one of the best episodes, and a great introduction if you’re new to the show).

On another note, the latest NCIS: Los Angeles episode, “Plan B,” did impress me (to be fair, my expectations for NCIS are much higher than they are for NCIS: LA). Deeks is really starting to overtake Callen as the star of the show. And I sincerely hope the rumors about Hetty not returning for season 3 are false. Hetty is to NCIS: LA what Abby is to NCIS – the heart of the show.

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