‘NCIS’: You’ll Be Surprised to Learn What the Show Is Really About

If you’ve watched “NCIS” for many years, you might think you already know what the show is about. Most fans think the series is just about a team of agents helping to solve crimes affecting the Navy and Marine Corps. However, “NCIS” producer Mark Horowitz said that’s not really the central theme of the show. Here’s what Showbiz Cheat Sheet learned about the real focus of “NCIS.”

Cast members say ‘NCIS’ is a family

Wilmer Valderrama, Emily Wickersham, and Sean Murray on NCIS | Greg Gayne/CBS via Getty Images
Wilmer Valderrama, Emily Wickersham, and Sean Murray on NCIS | Greg Gayne/CBS via Getty Images

The “NCIS” cast is a tight-knit group. During an interview with CBS, producer Frank Cardea said “NCIS” is a family show because the cast and crew always support each other. “I think the key word in our show is family. We’re a family show in the sense that although none of these people are related to each other, they’re a family. Everybody has a role. They’re all very distinct roles, but they all have each other’s backs completely. And they’re all really good at what they do,” said Cardea.

What ‘NCIS’ is really about

Maria Bello and Mark Harmon on NCIS | Cliff Lipson/CBS via Getty Images
Maria Bello and Mark Harmon on NCIS | Cliff Lipson/CBS via Getty Images

If “NCIS” isn’t about fighting crime, then what is it about? Horowitz told CBS the series is really about a group of kids trying to impress their father. In this case, the “kids” are the NCIS agents (McGee, Torres, and Bishop) and “dad” is Leroy Jethro Gibbs. “I always say this show is really about the kids trying to please dad. That’s what the show actually is about. It’s not about investigating something. It’s really about, there’s dad, there’s the kids, they want to make him proud, and they’ll do whatever they possibly can to please him,” Horowitz said.

Mark Harmon says ‘NCIS’ is a hard show to write for

If you’ve ever dreamed of writing for “NCIS,” you’ll have your work cut out for you. Mark Harmon told CBS the show is tough to write for. That’s because each episode is so focused on character development. “You could come here as a writer, and come off some other cop drama or whatever, and be able to write that stuff, but you couldn’t write this show because this show is hard to write. This show is about writing characters and it always has been. I think that the show over the years has grown into many different faces and this show is much harder to produce, to be part of, to bring out every week, than people think,” Harmon said.

Emily Wickersham explains why people watch ‘NCIS’

Emily Wickersham agrees with Harmon that “NCIS” is so much more than a crime drama. Wickersham told CBS most of the fans don’t watch the show because of the crime cases. “This is a procedural crime show, but the things people tune in for every week are the relationship between the characters. Even when we’ve lost people or added people, or whatever, I honestly think it’s the relationships between the cast.”

Read more: ‘NCIS’: Fans Think Phineas Is a Security Risk and Gibbs Made a Dumb Move

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