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NCIS’ Wilmer Valderrama Celebrates ‘Original Cast’ as Franchise Reaches 1,000 Episodes

Photo from Wilmer Valderrama’s Instagram

NCIS’ Wilmer Valderrama Celebrates ‘Original Cast’ as Franchise Reaches 1,000 Episodes

By Movieguide® Contributor

As the NCIS franchise reaches 1,000 episodes, actor Wilmer Valderrama reflected on how the show got to where it is today and why he believes it remains relevant.

“I mean, it’s crazy to be at the tail end of [1,000 episodes], not the tail end, the last half of that, right,” Valderrama told CBS News. “You gotta pay tribute to the original cast that started this thing, you know, all the way from Mark Harmon, starting in JAG, right.”

“JAG had two episodes at the end of JAG, those last two episodes served as kind of like a semi-pilot for NCIS,” he explained. “Then, you know, they come full circle. Mark Harmon leads this beautiful ship and creates something very different on television, an acronym where people are like, ‘What is NCIS?’ And then now it’s undeniabl[y] one of the most recognizable letters you could see. And, you know, a thousand episodes later and it’s not slowing down. It’s still the number one show.”

Being the number one show has not come without an incredible effort. The plotlines, characters’ struggles and enemies NCIS is fighting have evolved, and the writers have used this change to keep the show fresh after 21 seasons.

“The show has this interesting – we always say that it is about the people solving the case – and when you look back at a thousand episodes… you realize very quickly that it’s about being present,” Valderrama told Stephen Colbert.

“Every five years, the show takes note. It pays attention to what’s happening in the world. It creates conversation. It makes the storylines kind of relevant to what’s happening right now. [And it] continues to service; service the people that love the show, service the people that we’re representing on that screen,” he continued. “I think that’s what keeps it fresh.”

Honoring the real-life NCIS agents is something Valderrama is extremely cognizant of. The show’s motto has become “serving those who protect and protecting those who serve,” and Valderrama knows that those who live out that motto in real life deserve so much more credit than he does.

“As you may or may not know, I’ve had my fair share of traveling the world and visiting our troops around the world,” he said. “And when you at first wonder, ‘Who protects the one that protects us? Who are the people who are there making sure their families get the closure they need?’ And so on and so on and so this show can really attribute to the men and women who wear that uniform.”

The 1,000th episode of NCIS promises to be a juggernaut, bringing cast members from all branches of the show together. It will premiere on Monday, April 15, at 9 p.m. ET.

Movieguide® previously reported on the NCIS’s 1000th episode:

The NCIS franchise, a 21-year-old marine crime series and its spin-offs that are loved across the globe, will air its collective 1000th episode on April 15.

“The list of shows that have crossed the 1,000-episode milestone is largely populated by talk shows, soap operas, game shows, and reality programs,” EW said. “(And, of course, SESAME STREET.) Especially in recent years, the list doesn’t include many shows like NCIS.”

The NCIS original series’ 464th episode will mark the 1000th for the franchise.

EW reported, “The achievement counts episodes across all NCIS shows, including the original series, NCIS: LOS ANGELES, NCIS: NEW ORLEANS, NCIS: HAWAI’I, and the new NCIS: SYDNEY. All told, it’s roughly 42,722 minutes of water-adjacent investigations across the United States and, as of November, Australia as well.”

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4000+ Faith Based Articles and Movie Reviews – Will you Support Us?

Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.