Since its first season premiere in Sept. 2003, NCIS has remained in its 8 pm (EST) Tuesday timeslot on CBS. A spinoff from the network’s popular JAG, NCIS actually aired introductory episodes in April of that year.
Appreciation of the show was slow. But it continued to persistently move forward hitting a Number 2 ranking in the Nielsen’s in 2011, and Number 1 in 2012. Ever since it has remained in the Number 1 or 2 slot.
Why? For one thing, it attracts a wide range of audience from Baby Boomers to Millennials. And secondly, that audience has fallen in love with the cast of characters. While some actors have moved on to other things, others including Mark Harmon who portrays Leroy Jethro Gibbs, David McCallum who plays Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard, and Sean Murray as Timothy McGee, all have remained important leads in the show.
The draw of the ‘NCIS’ cast
Not only have the show’s producers done an excellent job of casting, even when a cast member has been written out, other characters of the show never forget their characters. It’s a constant reminder of the NCIS past for its loyal audience.
While Caitlin “Kate” Todd, portrayed by Sasha Alexander, was killed off after just two seasons, she has been remembered fondly by early fans. The memory of her has stayed solid when the show shared the past character during Seasons 3, 8, 9, and 12.
One of the show’s most popular characters was Ziva David, played by Cote de Pablo. Introduced in Season 3 and becoming a replacement on the team for Todd, Ziva won the heart of everyone who watched her. It was de Pablo’s decision to move on after Season 11 and the writers blew up Ziva’s childhood home in Israel, reportedly with her in it.
Unbeknownst to the team, Ziva had a child. Tony DiNozzo’s baby. DiNozzo, portrayed by Michael Weatherly, only found out when the child was brought to him upon Ziva’s death. Not wanting his daughter to lose another parent, DiNozzo left the team to move to Europe with her, meaning Weatherly was ready to move on to his own TV series, Bull, also on CBS.
And that’s just a few of the beloved members of the show who have left the cast.
End of the line rumors
Now that NCIS is in its 16th year, rumors are beginning to swirl about a potential end to the show. That’s natural given the length of its airing. Other rumors have included Harmon may be quitting or McCallum.
The former college football star and People Magazine’s 1986 Sexiest Man Alive will most likely live out the duration of the show to some degree. After all, the 67-year old has been Gibbs for the past 16 years of his life. He is also a producer of the show, as well as NCIS: New Orleans. And while he reportedly has taken on a role in a new CBS drama, Prey, we expect Gibbs to continue on NCIS.
It may, however, be true that McCallum will leave the show at the end of this season, or early next. The former Man from UNCLE star is now 85 years young. He’s been the Medical Examiner on NCIS from the onset, but in the past few years, he has been relinquishing a lot of duties to Dr. Jimmy Palmer, played by Brian Dietzen.
Ducky has been absent from many episodes in recent seasons and on a recent episode confided to Gibbs that his future no longer included NCIS. He will be sadly missed.
Where does the show go from here?
While not formally announced, we’re pretty sure NCIS we’ll see at least a Season 17, if not beyond. There are still loose ends to tie up and homicides to solve. Meanwhile, Harmon is taking a 32nd wedding anniversary vacation in Europe with his wife Pam Dawber of Mork & Mindy fame during the NCIS season break.
It’s a reminder that some marriages in Hollywood do last.