A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
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
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 & Scariness
Crime scenes show blood, crimes themselves can be very violent (disemboweling, tongues cut out), and autopsies can be graphic. Some plots involve serial killers.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
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.
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Some swearing ("ass," "bitch," "damn") and some sexual language play: "pussy ... cat."
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Products & Purchases
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.
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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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.