The "NCIS" cast members include seasoned actors and some newcomers. Unlike some television series that keep the same actors until the show jumps the shark and some of the most famous decide to leave, or the stars become so famous that the big screen calls, "NCIS" writers kill off characters to add to the drama and keep viewers' interest. The show, about a group of Naval Criminal Investigation officers, debuted in 2003 and is the main writing assignment for Donald P. Bellisario and Don McGill.
- Mark Harmon plays Special Agent Jethro Gibbs. Harmon starred in a host of other television shows, TV movies and even a film or two, including "Freaky Friday," "Weather Girl," and "Chasing Liberty." His notable television work includes 95 episodes as Dr. Jack McNeil on "Chicago Hope" and Special Agent Simon Donovan, who gives his life in defense of his charge. As "NCIS" chief wrangler of DiNozzo, David and McGee, Gibbs runs into all kinds of challenges. Harmon's character left the show for several shows to allow his charges to be featured, but Harmon's character returned to his former position and the crew went on solving crimes involving navy personnel.
- Michael Weatherly plays Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo. Tony is a joker and has an attitude, but "NCIS" cast member Michael Weatherly balances the attitude with a sense of humor and a smile. DiNozzo is also a womanizer, and this creates a problem or two for female guest stars. Weatherly's character is one of the original agents on the first season of "NCIS."
- Pauley Perrette plays Abby Sciuto. "NCIS" cast member Abby is a guy favorite, for dudes who like a woman with a bit of an odd style. She's a Goth-inspired "NCIS" cast member with tats and costumes that flash a bit of sexy, plaid school uniforms. Pauley wears these with flash, not to mention hemlines that reach well above the knee. Sciuto is a brain that evaluates the evidence the crew brings in from the crime scenes.
- David McCallum plays Dr. Donald Mallard. McCallum played a television spy guy on the 1964 series "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." and as one of the "NICS" cast members, McCallum plays the official forensic investigator. Dr. Mallard, in his 70s, also has a love interest every now and again. You can't keep those medical examiners locked in a lab all season!
- Sean Murray plays Special Agent Timothy McGee. Timothy McGee, fondly called "Probie" in recognition of the new slot he takes on the program, is the replacement of the late, great Caitlin Todd that was tragically shot in the head during a spectacular story arc that ended the same show. Exit Todd, enter McGee, the new recruit that needed to be shown the ropes.
- Cote de Pablo plays Ziva David. Cote joined the show in 2005 after the death of Agent Caitlin Todd, played by Sasha Alexander. David is an exchange agent from Israel. Mossad trained—that's the Israeli Intelligence—this woman can fight with the best of the bad guys—and win.
- Brian Dietzen plays Jimmy Palmer. "NCIS" cast member Jimmy is the comic sidekick of the group, both inside "NCIS" and in the field, and Dietzen plays the part with dash and allows the character to have some dignity, even when he's playing the part of a doofus.
- Rocky Carroll plays Leon Vance. Carroll took over the role of supervisor of Gibbs and crew after NCIS Director Jenny Shepard, played by Lauren Holly, was killed off in a shoot out in 2008, but not before she revealed some important plot points to the viewers. Director Vance keeps a low profile, but when he's called into action, it means major plot twists.
- Ralph Waite plays Jackson Gibbs, Jethro's dad. Although the role of Jethro's dad developed in 2008 and culminated in a two-show bonding story arc in 2010, the actors provided a compelling storyline that allowed them to go out into the field together.
- LL Cool J played Special Agent Sam Hanna. As a cast member of "NCIS," LL Cool J played Hanna for two episodes in 2009, but that was enough to establish a strong screen presence that led to being hired as a lead actor in the spin-off series "NCIS: Los Angeles" for the 2009 and 2010 season.
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