NCIS Crew Shares Behind-The-Scenes Secrets From Show’s 20-Year Run
By Movieguide® Contributor
The NCIS cast and crew shared some behind-the-scenes secrets from the show’s impressive 20-year run.
“The show was originally pitched as LAW & ORDER in the Navy,” executive producer Mark Horowitz told The Hollywood Reporter. “First, there’d be some crime, and the NCIS agents would investigate it—the cops of the Navy—and then the JAG people would come in and try the case. Don [McGill, the show’s co-creator] played with that idea for a little while, and then he just said, ‘We’re not going to do that. It’s going to be two completely separate shows.’”
When it came time to cast the show, casting director Susan Bluestein said it was “challenging.”
Stars like Harrison Ford and Andrew McCarthy were considered before they eventually hit on Mark Harmon.
“Mark had been on my NCIS list from day one. I always felt like Mark really had the gravitas for this character,” she said.
Peter Golden, another casting director for the show, added, “Mark had a meeting with Don Bellisario, and they hit it off, and Mark agreed to do it. All of a sudden, the show took on much more importance in my mind.”
Plenty of other big names were considered for parts in the popular crime procedural.
TVLine reported, “Before Sasha Alexander was eventually tapped to join the cast as Caitlin Todd, the name of none other than Jennifer Aniston—whose FRIENDS run was winding down” was one of the showrunner’s top choices.
NCIS insiders also revealed how they kept one of the show’s most surprising moments under wraps—the shocking Season 2 death of Caitlin Todd.
“For one, they only printed a single script page of Kate being shot,” Popverse wrote. “That meant that the actors and crew involved in the scene would have to read that page in person and then return it. Not only that, the actual physical bit of film holding that huge plot twist was ‘broken off from the rest of the film shot for that day.’”
They even filmed a fake ending for the episode to throw anyone looking for spoilers off the scent.
NCIS crew members also shared their thoughts on when the show might end.
“Speaking as the studio, I think it can go forever,” CBS TV Studios president David Stapf said.
CBS Entertainment president Amy Reisenbach added, “Speaking as the network, I concur. I mean, it’s the number one show.”
Many NCIS cast members have hinted that Mark Harmon may return to the show as Leroy Gibbs, especially as NCIS celebrates its 20th anniversary on CBS this year.
“I don’t see how we don’t see him one more time at one point,” showrunner Steven D. Binder said. “Gibbs has, in my mind, advanced to a higher plane of existence for now—I don’t want to place him in an apartment in Anchorage or anywhere. We left him smiling on a river happy, and that’s the image I want people to have until we’re really ready to blow that out of the water or truly embrace it in some way.”
Harmon retired from NCIS after season 19 last year. He had been with the show since its inception in 2003.