‘NCIS’ Fans Discuss How the Show’s Focus Has Evolved Over Two Decades

by Madison Miller
Photo by: Sonja Flemming/CBS ©2021 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

From changing stars, showrunners, and even the air date, “NCIS” has gone through its fair share of natural changes.

The popular procedural drama has been on for nearly two decades now, after all. It would be strange if the CBS program didn’t have any natural evolution over the years. Besides changes to the show itself, the world around “NCIS” has changed heavily since the show premiered in 2003.

Fans of the show have discussed how “NCIS” has changed over the years. Specifically, viewers on Reddit talked about how the target audience seems to have shifted quite a bit.

“The earlier seasons revolved around post 9/11 US military action and was focused on vet families. But the last few years have focused more on an elderly demographic and less on the active-duty concept. Early episodes constantly had the team on submarines and dealt a lot more with terrorism. More recent seasons focus on things that are relatable to seniors like the divide in age between the Giblets and older one time or guest characters. There’s less action in favor of nostalgia and comfort. I’m not saying these things are bad but it’s nothing like episodes from the 00s were like. I realize a lot of the seniors who watch the show are probably the same audience from the beginning,” wrote one fan.

Shift in Content from Early 2000s ‘NCIS’

Essentially, they are stating that the type of onscreen action we see on “NCIS” is very much different than it was back in the early 2000s.

While others agreed that the show has changed a lot, some don’t believe it’s necessarily the target audience. Rather, “NCIS” is adapting to the same audience they’ve had for years that continues to age along with the show.

“I don’t know if it is so much of a shift in the target audience as it is, dragging along an aging star (and cast), who aren’t going to be able to do what they did 20 years ago. Also after 20 years, they had to expand things to not just be about solving everything on a ship, and the idea that everything was about terrorists got played out long ago (in the real world as well as in the show … With some fresh blood in the show now (and a few younger cast members), perhaps they can now get back to that,” wrote another fan.

Others once again reiterated that they’ve stopped watching since Gibbs left earlier this season. Instead of focusing on terrorism and other grand schemes like that, “NCIS” has shifted more into obscure murder mysteries. The team will look at weird, outlandish murder cases.

Despite various changes over the years, “NCIS” has still managed to keep up its overall positive ratings. While it has decreased over the years, the show still has quite the audience. The episode that aired on January 3 had a 0.47 demographic rating. That’s down close to 19%. As for viewers, that episode brought in a total of 6.93 million, according to TV Series Finale.