Don McGill, Donald P. Bellisario
Action & Adventure, Crime, Drama

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NCIS - Review

This Review was written following only one rule - binge-watching the tv-show for around 10 hours with a lot of popcorn and then wirting down the thoughts - so you can trust this review is honest and truthful.

"Navy CIS" Becomes A Long-Running Success

The "Navy CIS" show, often referred to simply as "NCIS" has become a popular show in the U.S. and many territories throughout the world under the leadership of showrunner Donald Bellisario. Season 16 of "Navy CIS" will be released in 2019 with the show appearing to have a long future as a seventeenth season has already been commissioned by CBS.

The idea for "Navy CIS" was born as a spinoff of the "JAG" series which focused on the work of U.S. Navy lawyers. As with most pilots created for the CBS network as part of a better-known show, "NCIS" debuted as a backdoor pilot as part of the eighth season of "JAG" and introduced the main characters of the new show.

The "Navy CIS" team was introduced in the episode "Ice Queen" of "JAG" which allowed the viewer to be introduced to the characters of Senior Special Agent Leroy Gibbs, Agent Vivian Blackadder, and NCIS Admiral Agent Tony DiNozzo. The team is called in to investigate when the body of the pregnant JAG officer Lt. Singer is discovered dead by a boy scout. At the same time, the "Navy CIS" team is running a parallel investigation into the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole which occurred in the "JAG" timeline.

Gibbs and his team interview many of the major characters in "JAG" as they look for the reasons behind the death of the judge advocate and who the murderer is. As Gibbs and his team investigate the death they also work alongside a number of "JAG" officers as they attempt to uncover the terrorist network responsible for the bombing of the naval ship. At the end of the first episode of the two making up the "NCIS" backdoor pilot, Gibbs arrests Commander Rabb for the murder of Singer despite a mystery still surrounding the death.

"Navy CIS" began its first season properly with the episode, "Yankee White" which revolved around the mysterious death of U.S. Navy Commander Ray Trapp. The naval officer dies suddenly during a meal with the President of the United States on Air Force One prompting a major battle over jurisdiction on the aircraft. The plane lands at the nearest airfield and the President was whisked away in another plane leaving "Navy CIS" members, Leroy Gibbs, Tony DiNozzo, and medical examiner, "Ducky" Mallard facing a battle with the Secret Service and FBI.

As the officer who died of an apparent stroke is a member of the U.S. Navy, "NCIS" claim jurisdiction and have their claim backed by Secret Service Agent Caitlin Todd when the President is given the medical all clear. "Ducky" is a friend of the local medical examiner who gives him the chance to examine the crime scene with the rest of the "NCIS" team who receive the backing of Agent Todd to take Air Force One to Washington D.C. for a thorough examination.

When the team returns to Washington D.C. they are informed Commander Trapp was a late replacement for another Naval officer who was ill with the flu. The death of a second Naval officer with similar symptoms of a stroke in nearby Georgetown leaves the team concerned about the presence of Agent Todd so close to the President. Leroy Gibbs has to race against time to protect the President and discover who is causing the mysterious deaths of U.S. Navy members so close to the President.

"Navy CIS" has become linked to the actor, Mark Harmon who stars as Leroy Jethro Gibbs across all seventeen commissioned seasons. The actor has been working in both films and TV since the mid-1970s but found his most famous early role in the medical drama, "St. Elsewhere" in the mid-1980s. After "St. Elsewhere," Harmon found a second high profile role as Special Agent Donovan in "The West Wing." His role as the secret service agent convinced Donald Bellisario, creator of "JAG" and "NCIS" to offer him the role of Gibbs.

Donald Bellisario is one of the most successful writers and producers in U.S. TV history who began his career working with producers Glen A. Larson and Stephen J. Cannell. Inspired by the tight-knit team the veteran producers created for their productions which often used the same actors in small and recurring roles, Bellisario took their business model and created his own production company. Since the mid-1980s, Bellisario has been responsible for creating and writing shows including "Magnum P.I." and "Quantum Leap."

Many of the "Navy CIS" team have changed over the years in production, but the character of "Donald "Ducky" Mallard has remained a constant for the investigation team as their medical examiner. Mallard is played by the veteran British actor, David McCallum who sprang to fame in the 1960s in "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." The actor was a regular performer on a number of U.S. and British TV shows, including "Sapphire and Steel" with Diana Rigg and "Murder She Wrote" alongside Angela Lansbury.

Like the majority of shows in the "CIS" canon, "Navy CIS" is filmed in Los Angeles despite being set on the East Coast of the U.S. Donald Bellasario took an active role in the development and various seasons of "Navy CIS" during which he has appeared as a writer and director alongside his duties as producer and executive producer. Bellisario remained the showrunner for the first five seasons of the show until a creative difference with Mark Harmon led to his decision to step down from his role.

"Navy Cis" has built a strong following among viewers with the show continuing to add viewers through its first five seasons until it averaged over ten million per episode. The growth of the audience resulted in "NCIS" is rated the most watched show by sheer weight of numbers in the U.S. from its seventh season onwards without reaching the pinnacle of the number one show in the nation until season 12. The show has been a critical success with a rating of over 80 percent with Rotten Tomatoes.

The international rights to broadcast "Navy CIS" have been purchased by various networks including Network Ten in Australia and Channel Five in the U.K. British and Australian audiences often see the longer plotlines spanning multiple episodes cut down to feature film length episodes.

"Navy CIS" has featured a number of guest stars, including "The Greatest Showman" star, Zac Efron in an episode in season three. The ideas of Donald Bellisario to create a small team of actors who work on his various shows has seen him use actors such as Lauren Holly in more than one installment of the "CIS" franchise in different roles. Mark Harmon is always looking to add to the realism of his character, Leroy Gibbs and has worn shirts and caps sent to him by U.S. Military veterans to wear when his character is seen relaxing at home. Harmon's role as a U.S. Navy investigator in the movie, "The Presidio" alongside Sean Connery is referenced with the use of a shot from the movie used in the opening credits of "Navy CIS." The show has been through three different titles of "Naval CIS" during preproduction, "Navy CIS" in season one, and "NCIS" for the remaining seasons.

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