NCIS TV Show
Image via Belisarius Productions

What does ‘NCIS’ stand for?

The fictional CBS crime drama is based on a very real Navy unit.

NCIS is a behemoth among network crime dramas. Since its first episode aired in 2003, it’s run for 20 seasons and has aired more than 450 episodes to date. While some of the cast has rotated over its 18 years of production, the show has stayed true to its style and consistently produced engaging suspenseful crime-based stories. And it’s still going today

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Some of the biggest names to appear in this long-running series include Mark Harmon, David McCallum, Michael Weatherly, Pauley Perette, Cote de Pablo, Sean Murray, and many more stars over this two-decade-long run so far. With each season we see other new names come into the mix so we could see this list grow further in the coming years.

For those who aren’t die-hard fans of the show, its title NCIS might seem like a made-up acronym, however, while the characters are fictional, the show has its base in reality.

What does NCIS stand for?

NCIS TV Show
Image via CBS

NCIS stands for Naval Criminal Investigative Service, a very real subdivision of the Navy whose responsibility is to investigate felony crime, prevent terrorism, and protect secrets from the Navy and Marine Corps.

When the show was originally launched it was titled Navy NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service but was shortened to NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service soon after. Then, finally, it was shortened to just NCIS which is how most people know it today.

The show is popular enough that it’s spawned a couple of spinoff series that follow the same Navy division posted in different locations, such as NCIS: Los Angeles and NCIS: New Orleans.


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Ryan Galloway
Assigning Editor for We Got This Covered, avid moviegoer and Marvel enjoyer.