'NCIS': Why is the Series Still Going Strong After 200 Episodes?

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NCIS" has officially made it to 200 episodes. That's a big deal. Of course there are other shows with a similar track record, but when you search for criminal dramas that have lasted that long, you'll soon realize there just aren't that many. So what are the "NCIS" guys doing right? Why have they lasted 200 episodes? Here are a few reasons.

Character diversity

"NCIS" has an African American director, a senior citizen medical examiner, a young Goth forensic scientist and a female Israeli who's formerly a Mossad agent. They also have an MIT grad, a shy ME assistant and a few strange relatives that come and go. The show's cast diversity offers personalities everyone can relate to.

Personal back stories

Some shows never reveal the stories behind the stories, but "NCIS" viewers know how the agents became who they are. Occasional dreams and flashbacks revealed details about Gibbs' dead wife and daughter. In the episode "Baltimore" Tony DiNozzo shared his Baltimore PD history (and bad clothing choices.) Robert Wagner as DiNozzo Senior has given insight into his son's personality quirks.

Viewers have met Palmer's fiance and future father-in-law, as well as Ducky's mother, who was killed off during Season 8. They've met Ziva's father and watched as she shot her brother to keep him from killing Gibbs. The show introduced Lily Tomlin as Tim McGee's grandmother. In the episode "Enemy on the Hill" they shared the moment Abby learned that she was adopted and had a brother she never knew about. Each season has brought new details to help viewers get to know their favorite characters a little bit better.

Drama with a smile

The agents bring down dangerous criminals. They thwart international conspiracies; but they always manage to slip in a humorous line or two. Tony shifts easily from criminal profiles to movie dialogue and trivia. Ziva tries to do the same, but the phrases usually come out all twisted. Tim McGee is also the writer Thom E. Gemcity. His "Deep Six" novels have characters based on his fellow "NCIS" agents.

Bubbly, energetic forensic tech Abby wears tattoos and neck spikes, and keeps a coffin at home. Ducky talks to corpses and his assistant Palmer eats lunch with the dead. Gibbs keeps a straight face no matter what everybody else is doing, and he'll smack his agents on the back of the head when they least expect it.

Exciting plots

The "NCIS" team investigate serial killings, explosions and gun smuggling operations. They make clandestine overseas runs and set up undercover ops mid sea. They've found traitors and welcomed defectors. They've discovered corpses with missing fingers and dead agents with secret chips embedded beneath their skin. Each week there's something new and exciting. Yet there's an ongoing undertone of mystery, the sense that the viewer is being left out of a great big secret.

A lot goes into "NCIS" to make it a series viewers return to again and again. That's why they have arrived at the 200 episode milestone and will keep going strong.



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