Every time I go over to my mom’s house, I know I can count on watching at least a few episodes of her favorite show, NCIS.
However, even after all the times she’s worn out her DVDs with repeated viewings, I bet there are still a few surprising facts about NCIS she missed — likely because she’s often a bit distracted by the handsome leading man, Mark Harmon.
Whether it’s a subtle reference to one of the actors’ personal lives, a slipup in the plot’s continuity, or some overly accurate attention to detail, there are more layers to the drama series than most fans realize.
Of course, this is exactly what makes a TV show that much more fun to to watch!
Take a look at some of these facts about NCIS we were able to gather up and see if you missed something while watching the episodes.
You can also let us know in the comments if we missed your favorite tidbit, and be sure to SHARE with your friends!
Thumbnail source: Wikimedia Commons / Tim1965
1. Two Real NCIS Agents Have Made Cameos
Special Agent David Brant appears in the season three episode, “Frame Up,” while former director Thomas Betro popped in “Identity Crisis” two seasons later, both going by their real names as characters on the show.
2. Abby's Back Tattoo Disappears
Though several of the quirky character’s tattoos are part of actress Pauley Perrette’s real collection of body art, the large cross that appears in a scene where she changes clothes in front of McGee is clearly a fake as it is never seen again despite Abby’s revealing outfits.
3. The Team Should Have A Stack Of Speeding Tickets
Based in Washington, D.C., Gibbs and his crew commonly respond to crime scenes in places like Norfolk and Virginia Beach. In real life, the drive would take at least four hours, but they always seem to arrive in less than half that time.
4. They Keep The "Most Wanted" Wall Up-To-Date
Eagle-eyed viewers may have noticed that the photo of Osama Bin Laden on the team’s “Most Wanted” wall was quietly crossed out with red tape following his death in May 2011.
5. Mark's Real Son Plays Him In Flashbacks
If you thought they just got lucky with casting an actor who looks remarkably like Mark, think again.
From 2008 to 2012, Sean Harmon appeared in six different episodes, including the emotional 200th episode “Life Before His Eyes” (shown above), playing a younger version of Gibbs.
6. The Agents Have Two Different Types Of Badges
Did you ever wonder why some agents wear a gold badge while others wear silver? Well, the gold is designated for full-time agents, while the silver is for part-timers.
7. Gibbs' Off-Duty T-Shirts Are Legit
When shown taking a load off and working on his boat, Gibbs sports several T-shirts sent to him from law enforcement agencies across the country, or a sweatshirt with “NIS” written on it.
Before being dubbed NCIS, the department was known as “Naval Investigative Service,” which is around the time he would have started his career there.
8. Abby Has A Musical Middle Name
If you look closely at the paperwork Abby fills out in the season 12 episode “The Lost Boys,” you’ll see it reveals her full name: Abigail Beethoven Sciuto.
9. Michael Pokes Fun At His Real-Life Romantic Past
In a season three episode, Tony jokes that he’s “got a better chance of hooking up with Jessica Alba than these guys do of infiltrating SeaLift.”
Michael was actually engaged to Jessica back when they co-starred together on Dark Angel from 2000 to 2002.
10. Mark Uses His Own Tools
Being quite the handyman in real life, the actor brought in tools from his own workshop to use in the scenes with Gibbs working on his boat.
Mark also restored the 1972 Airstream his character uses.
11. The Co-Creator Keeps It In The Family
Donald P. Bellisario cast his stepson, Sean Murray, as Timothy McGee. The character’s sister is also played by Sean’s real-life stepsister, Troian Bellisario.
Even Gibbs’ first names, Leroy Jethro, are a nod to Donald’s family: his brother is Leroy and his father’s middle name is Jethro.
12. Michael And Robert Wagner Already Have A Connection
You probably can’t tell by watching them onscreen, but the duo was already connected before NCIS. The resemblance between the two actors was noticed back in 2004 by the producers, who cast Michael to play Robert in the TV movie The Mystery of Natalie Wood, about Robert’s late wife.
13. Ellie's OSU Gear Is Authentic
Before joining the show in its 11th season, Emily Wickersham attended Oklahoma State University and brought along some of her own mementos to her character’s desk.
Did we miss anything else most fans never noticed about the show? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to SHARE with your friends!