Is NCIS The Worst Television Show Ever Made?

Posted on by Stephenson Billings

NCIS_dangerIt’s time America confront one of the biggest moral conundrums of modern television today: the wild popularity of the CBS crime series NCIS. This show is misleading, derogatory, anti-American, counterproductive and sets a bad example for our youth. The plot is confusing and lazy, its actors two-dimensional charlatans. It is the liberal media’s attempt to use the coveted national network “Prime Time” airwaves to promote leftwing propaganda under the guise of “drama.”

In essence, NCIS presents a relentless attack on the integrity of our men and women in the armed forces. Watching it, you’d believe our Navy is staffed by murderers, embezzlers, spies and rapists. This is all the more astonishing when you consider that the NCIS show infects tens of millions of Americans each and every week with its subliminal anti-Military bias, ultimately discouraging our young men from enlisting to protect this country from global terror.

The series revolves around the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. The real-life NCIS is the Navy’s primary source of security for the men, ships, planes, and resources of US seagoing expeditionary forces worldwide. In truth, this is a sleepy corner of our armed services. Its employees are akin to port inspectors, without the suntans and rich parents of those in the Coast Guard. But in the CBS-produced version, NCIS is staffed by fast-talking models and millionaires who deal with a constant flow of front-page crimes and intrigue like FBI agents. These sharp-dressed, sexually overactive charmers put no trust in American laws or faith, but rather in their array of government-purchased sidearms. The show frightens you into believing that the American military has been infiltrated at the very highest levels by corrupt villains and that only a ragtag group of self-indulgent outsiders can save us.

Maybe I’m a bit of a curmudgeon for attacking a fictional tv show made up of character actors stumbling through overwritten and hyped-up storylines. You shouldn’t watch it if it offends you, people will say. But that’s not the point. I don’t watch NCIS. The truth I’m getting at is that this show represents the fall of American creative television ethical greatness.


We once had tv shows like the Rockford Files to turn to each week. This was a fabulous educational experience, with James Garner pursuing thrilling, authentic-feeling adventures while living in a trailer on a gorgeous California beach. He was strong and tough and wise and got beaten down a bit. There was an inexpensive taco shack a short walk away. He fought thieves, dirty land developers, the “syndicate,” drug smugglers and corrupt politicians but always had time to rescue a beautiful lady. The police, hardworking and underpaid, were always heroes in the end, too. Rockford’s father Rocky, superbly brought to life by veteran actor Noah Beery Jr., was a fantastic parental figure and even though this show didn’t air on Sundays, I liked to imagine they all went to church on that day.


Conversely, NCIS lead star Mark Harmon is simply unpleasant. He has devolved since his Chicago Hope and St. Elsewhere days. The name “Leroy Jethro Gibbs” is supposed to convey a down home Southern boy, but Harmon’s uppity demeanor is tiring. Frankly, he is the most annoying character on Prime Time today. You just want to see him pick his ear or sing a Bee Gees song– anything to show that there’s actually a human being within that sickly yellow crust. His two-dimensional shtick is that of a stern adult, hardened by dangerous international adventures but never adventurous enough to fall into a lice-infested bed with a third-world prostitute. Despite this, something about Harmon seems wrong and unfinished. The show taunts you with the idea that Gibbs has more backstory, but it never delivers on that promise. Instead we’re left with the antithesis of James Rockford– a shell of a man whose puzzling performances are robotic, devoid of hope and irritating.


  • Timothy McGee: The dorky author. Surely he is the alter ego of the show’s very own writers. Why else would they make him out to be an intelligent and strong lothario who earns millions from his typing skills when in actuality he looks like he should be stacking Hostess Cakes in a blue apron at Wal-Mart? It’s called fantasy projection.
  • Ziva & Kate: These two bellicose women, always ready with a waistband handgun, are not physically enticing. Their aggressive lack of prettiness and their overbearing superiority complexes are huge turnoffs. Is this the sort of girl a man needs beside him? I think not.
  • Anthony DiNozzo: Overcompensating for his homosexuality by being a lecherous young man. What an example he sets for today’s youth! No one would ever let this oaf be a police agent in real life.
  • Abby: That goth computer geek woman. Why is she here? Is she meant to be alluring to video gamers, aging lesbians or awkward teen boys? Or all three? I don’t understand the appeal. The talking car KITT from the popular show Knight Rider would work just as well and would probably cost thousands less in S&M wardrobe expenses. Anyone have David Hasselhoff’s cell number?
  • Ducky: An overeducated Brit doctor making a meager living as a US military morgue rat? How much more implausible can you get!


Story-wise, NCIS never seems to add up. The crimes the team faces each week don’t highlight any interesting aspects of modern society. They aren’t “Ripped From the Headlines,” nor are they morally redemptive. There are no teachable moments. Just a lot of bombs on boats, dead marines on leave and Navy men in tight blue uniforms who have something or other to do with some government office in Washington. At the end of each episode, the regular cast members slink back into their own corners of the office, maybe with a little banter. But any repeat viewer will quickly see their cute little phrases (“Ya think?”) are repeated verbatim and ad nauseum each week. This begs the question: are the NCIS writers this lazy or is America this braindead? Regardless, each episode seems exactly the same to me. I could watch the beginning of one, the middle of another and the ending of a third and it would seem just as coherent as any complete episode.

Like some slimy pregnant alien, NCIS has just spawned. Its new spinoff show “NCIS Los Angeles!” is the first step in a proposed CSI-style takeover of America’s Prime Time and syndicated airwaves. For the sake of America’s men and women serving so honorably in our military, I hope and pray that never happens. This show is a disservice to the service.

  • Mahatma Randy

    Your insights confuse me. I don’t wish to troll you, and I’ll be the first to admit that NCIS is a pretty weak show. It’s comfort food for when you want to watch something and not think about it much, but don’t like sports. The acting is medicre at best, and flat-out-bad on occasion, particularly when the show tries to be funny.

    That said, many of your comments confuse me. It’s a cop show, basically. All cop shows give unreasonable pictures of what life in blue is like, because honestly being a cop is pretty dull. Saying NCIS is unrealistic is as “well, duh” as saying “Star Trek doesn’t have a real space ship in it,” or “Cheers presents an unrealistic representation of what mailmen are like.” Fiction is fiction, and tv is not a great medium for realism. Never has been. Particularly when you’re dealing with a simple mystery/action/adventure show. Again, not to offend, but your observations read like someone who’s never seen a TV show before, or perhaps someone British (which is mostly the same thing)

    As to being unamerican…oh come on. The general outline is that someone in the navy or marines is accused of a crime, it looks like they’re guilty, and then the team exonnerates them in some way. Yeah, there’s some corrupt servicefolk, and also some corrupt NCISfolk and some corrupt government folk, but realistically i’d say that’s like one episode in 10. Mostly they deal with terrorism, civilians using the service to unwittingly assist in crimes, crimes comitted against the familes of servicemen, and thqt sort of thing. And of course the show is made with the blessing and occasional assistance of the Navy, so clearly the government itself doesn’t share your concerns. Also: gibbs is from indiana, not “southern”

    Bottom line, your article makes little sense and seems kind of like you’re just trying to stir up pointless anger a the tv equivalent of mac and cheese, heavy on the cheese. Why do that?

    This is an old article, and apparently ignored until now, so i doubt i’ll hear back from you but i’d love to know what you think upon reflection.

  • Iam NOT Sck

    Mahatma, comparing ncis and star trek….. cop shows are supposed to be realistic not sci fi….. like the example of Rockford files, and how realistic it was. How you compare a cop show and a space travel show makes no sense what so ever. What realm do the two share other then simply both being television shows?

    And if you actually took the time to watch the show instead of commenting out of ignorance you could see the blatant disrespect of the American military.