The majority of television shows can produce five seasons of high-quality content. After the fifth season, a show’s episode count typically reaches triple digits, with a noticeable decline in the strength of its storylines, viewership, or both.
However, every now and then, a show will defy the laws of television and enjoy multiple successful decades of consistent episodes. This category includes the iconic police procedural NCIS.
The drama will enter its 20th season in September, making it one of the longest-running scripted primetime TV series on American television.
Throughout the Series’ History, There Have Been Many Changes
Since 2003, the series has produced around two dozen episodes per year, totaling over 400 episodes. As a result, it’s not surprising that NCIS has had a slew of cast changes in that time. The cast of the police procedural has changed so many times that the current cast is almost entirely different from the original!
SSA Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon), Agents Caitlin Todd (Sasha Alexander) and Anthony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly), Forensic Specialist Abby Sciuto (Pauley Perrette), and Medical Examiner Donald “Ducky” Mallard were the main characters in Season 1. (David McCallum).
Only Ducky remains from those five characters, and he isn’t one of the series’ main characters. David McCallum, who is now 88 years old, has a much smaller role on the show than he did in previous years.
Even Mark Harmon, who has been the heart and soul of NCIS since its inception, left the show in Season 19. And, while fans adore many of the new characters, nothing compares to the magic of the early seasons.
‘NCIS’ Introduces New Characters While Maintaining the ‘Family’ Atmosphere
Alden Parker (Gary Cole) took over for Mark Harmon’s Leroy Jethro Gibbs, a likable but far less fatherly character. And, as Katrina Law, the actress behind agent Jessica Knight, explained, the transition was difficult but rewarding.
Law said that the Season 19 scene in which Alden Parker puts himself in danger for his team for the first time proved that, even without Gibbs, the fictional NCIS squad remains a family.
“I think that was a huge moment for the show going forward,” the actress said in the Season 19 DVD set’s “Cast of Characters” bonus content, as reported by Parade. “Because it demonstrated, ‘Yes, we are a team.'” We care about each other, and we will eventually love each other as a dysfunctional little family.”
Executive Producer Scott Williams couldn’t agree more, saying that no matter how many changes the series undergoes, there is always an effort to keep the show’s original spirit alive.
“It’s fun for our audience to feel like the old family is still present,” Williams explained. “We can tell new stories while honoring and respecting those who came before.”
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