NCIS

TV review by
Sierra Filucci, Common Sense Media
NCIS TV Poster Image
Upbeat but average crime show with blood, bodies.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 28 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 85 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

There is some positive messaging in the portrayal of the officers who attempt to solve the show's crimes, and in their applying specialized knowledge to the investigative process.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The main characters exhibit the typical level of positive behavior associated with the "good guys" on a mainstream network police show, and no significant negative behavior, aside from a lead character who's depicted as a womanizer.

Violence

Crime scenes show blood, crimes themselves can be very violent (disemboweling, tongues cut out), and autopsies can be graphic. Some plots involve serial killers.

Sex

Plenty of sexually-tinged banter and innuendo. While there is discussion of romantic relationships, very little of it is sexual, and what does veer in that direction is tame by prime-time standards.

Language

Some swearing ("ass," "bitch," "damn") and some sexual language play: "pussy ... cat."

Consumerism

No real product placement, though fake Starbucks and Big Gulp cups are visible.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Main characters do not smoke, drink obviously, or use drugs. Use may appear in some subplots.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this military investigative drama depicts graphic crime scenes that include blood, gunshot holes, and dead bodies (some of which have been mutilated). Autopsies can also be somewhat graphic, though certain body parts are blurred out. The main characters engage in adult humor, though the content is generally mild. The series reinforces some stereotypes, while others are made more complex.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 11 and 15 year old Written bygabajoran September 18, 2009
I've let my kids watch most episodes of NCIS. I usually preview first if it's a PG14. I'll sometimes restrict it. To be honest, the violence d... Continue reading
Adult Written bydragonrich9 December 21, 2010
I am watching the episode tht shown at 8 a,m, the boss chases after the criminal at the station, he should take care himself before have himself killed.
Kid, 12 years old December 19, 2010

The awesomeness has reached full scale! Prepare the back-up Ziva-O-meter!

This is one of the best shows ever! What surprises me is the age everyone is giving this! I have a 7 year old friend who loves this show! People, NCIS was meant... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byMinto36 October 27, 2013

Might be a bit much for young kids

The shooting scenes and stuff are generally fine but the autopsys might be a bit much for young kids. Very gripping and addictive.

What's the story?

NCIS is an offshoot of JAG, and, like its predecessor, it takes a military angle on the standard legal/crime procedural drama: The unit's purpose is to investigate crimes involving Navy and Marine Corps personnel. Mark Harmon plays Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs, the man in charge of on-the-ground operations. Gibbs is a serious guy whose impatience with bureaucracy makes you wonder why he chose a career in the military, but whose experience and intensity keep the rest of the team on track. His two main investigators, Anthony "Tony" DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly) and Ziva David (Cote de Pablo), riff with each other constantly, including some sexual banter. Several other characters round out the show, most notably Abby Sciuto (Pauley Perrette), whose gothic style and relentlessly chipper attitude make her an unusual forensic expert. Her geeky personality and propensity for Big Gulp sodas add to her cult appeal.

Is it any good?

For many years, CBS was regarded casually as a network aimed at the elderly. With series such as Murder, She Wrote and the investigative journalism warhorse 60 Minutes, it's easy to understand the generalization. NCIS feels like a leftover from that era of programming; lead investigator Gibbs spends so much time glaring at his younger coworkers that you expect him to explode at any moment with a "Get off my lawn, you hippies!"

Like an engine ground down by years of overuse and poor repairs, NCIS represents the low ebb of the crime procedural drama. Attempts at humor and character development feel forced; the seams begin to show between scenes barely stitched together to propel a murder-of-the-week plot. Despite its flaws, the show maintains an enormous viewership and an upbeat tone that distinguishes it from some of its darker brethren.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about any stereotypes they witness while watching. Does the male and female characters' behavior on the show reinforce or combat stereotypes? What's the difference between male and female sexuality on the show?

  • How realistic are the characters and scenarios on this show? How does the show differ from other crime procedurals?

TV details

For kids who love drama

Our editors recommend

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