NCIS: Every TV Show in the Franchise, Ranked

With four hit TV shows and one currently in production, how does each NCIS show rank against the others?

NCIS Every TV Show in the Franchise, Ranked

NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service) is a media franchise originally created by Donald P. Bellisario on CBS. The series deals with military-related criminal investigations based on the real NCIS of the United States Department of the Navy, which includes the Navy and the Marine Corps. One of the longest-running TV shows in history, the original NCIS series was introduced via a backdoor pilot in 2003, from the TV show JAG. Since then, NCIS has spun off three more series. In total, four television series make up the bulk of the franchise, with currently 979 episodes across 43 seasons.

The four current series are NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles, NCIS: New Orleans, and NCIS: Hawai’i. In 2012, NCIS: Los Angeles was commissioned to get its own spinoff, titled NCIS: Red, which would follow a mobile team of agents who travel the country to solve crimes, with actors already cast in roles. However, when the pilot episodes aired during the fourth season of NCIS: Los Angeles, the series was canceled before it began.

On February 16, 2022, Paramount announced that a spin-off series set in Sydney, Australia was in the works, with the cast consisting of Olivia Swann, Todd Lasance, Sean Sagar, Tuuli Narkle, Mavournee Hazel, and William McInnes. While that series has yet to premiere, this article will rank the current four televisions series in the franchise.

4. NCIS: Hawai’i

NCIS Hawaii

NCIS: Hawai’i premiered on CBS on September 20, 2021. Vanessa Lachey stars as Jane Tennant, the Special Agent in Charge of a team of special agents from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service based in Hawai’i, working out of the Pear Harbor Field Office. Alex Tarrant, Noah Mills, Yasmine Al-Bustami, and Jason Antoon starring as the team’s agents.

NCIS: Hawai'i is the fourth series in the franchise, and was created by Christopher Silber, Jan Nash, and Matt Bosack. The series is currently the lowest -anking NCIS series in the franchise, with a 6.6 rating on IMDb, a 79% Audience Score on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 48% score on Metacritic.

RELATED: The Chilling NCIS Scene That Still Gives Fans Goosebumps

3. NCIS: New Orleans

NCIS New Orleans

The second spin-off and third series in the franchise, NCIS: New Orleans premiered on CBS on September 23, 2014, following the 12th season of NCIS. The series stars Scott Bakula as NCIS Supervisory Agent/Special Agent in Charge Dwayne “King” Cassius Pride and CCH Pounder as Loretta Wade, the team’s medical examiner, with Lucas Black, Zoe McLellan, Rob Kerkovich, Shalita Grant, Daryl Mitchell starring as the team’s agents.

Naturally, the series is set in New Orleans, Louisiana, where it is also filmed. The show was renewed for its seventh season, which premiered in November 2020. It was also announced that the seventh season would be the series’ final, making it the first show in the NCIS franchise to end. The series has a 6.8 rating on IMDb, a 65% Audience Score on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 55% score on Metacritic.

2. NCIS: Los Angeles

NCIS Los Angeles

The second series in the franchise, and the first spin-off, is NCIS: Los Angeles. The series premiered on CBS September 22, 2009, and follows the Los Angeles-based Office of Special Projects (OSP), which is a division of the NCIS that specializes in undercover assignments. NCIS: Los Angeles originally starred Chris O’Donnell, Daniela Ruah, LL Cool J, Peter Cambor, Adam Jamal Craig, Linda Hunt, and Barrett Foa. Cambor’s character was killed off at the end of season one, while Foa was written out following Season 12. Hunt was demoted to “special guest star” in Season 13.

After 14 seasons, the series concluded, making it the second series in the NCIS franchise to end. The show received mixed reviews from critics, but was a hit in the ratings for CBS. It has a 6.8 rating on IMDb, a 67% Audience Score on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 59% score on Metacritic.

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The original series in the franchise, NCIS is undoubtedly the best show. With a 7.8 rating on IMDb, an 84% Audience Score on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 51% rating on Metacritic (though a 7.8 user score), it’s no wonder that NCIS has received numerous awards and nominations since its premiere on September 23, 2003. The series follows a team of special agents from the NCIS and combines elements of military drama, police procedural genres, and comedy. It is the third longest-running scripted, non-animated US primetime TV series currently airing, behind Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Law & Order. It is the seventh-longest-running scripted U.S. primetime series in history.

The original cast consisted of Mark Harmon as NCIS Supervisory Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs, Sasha Alexander as Special Agent Caitlin Todd, Michael Weatherly as Senior Field Agent Anthony DiNozzo, Pauley Perrette as Forensic Specialist Abby Sciuto, David McCallum as Medical Examiner Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard, and Sean Murray as Special Agent Timothy McGee. Over the course of its twenty seasons, most of the main cast has left, leaving Murray and McCallum as the only main stars to stay since season one.


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