‘NCIS’: Is the Show More Enjoyable for Viewers Who Are Unfamiliar with the Navy?

by Lauren Boisvert

A Reddit user recently posed the question, “If you don’t know jack about how the navy works, will NCIS still be just as enjoyable?” Which, fair. The show is about the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, after all. It’s understandable that new viewers might feel a bit daunted if they don’t know anything about the U.S. Navy or Marines.

Reddit turned out for this question, though, with multiple fans stating that they like the show better not knowing anything about the Navy.

Basically, said one user, “It is probably more enjoyable.” Another chimed in, “It’s a cop show that mainly uses the Navy/military issues as a backdrop for a lot of the action and intrigue.”

Another commented, “all you need to know is that NCIS is does criminal investigations IF Navy Personnel are involved.” I’ve said it before, but it’s a miracle the Navy still gets any recruits with how often they die on NCIS.

Still more NCIS fans said they enjoyed the show more when they didn’t know anything about the Navy. One user said their husband, who is in the Navy, ruins the show by pointing out inaccuracies. “Same thing with people who halfway know how computers work,” commented another fan, “it makes a lot of the tech talk quite cringy.”

The thing about NCIS being about the Navy is that it’s still accessible for those who know nothing about it. It’s easy to break into, even for young viewers; one Reddit user says they were about 12 when they started watching.

For me, I was a freshman in high school, and I got into NCIS because my grandmother loves it. As a 14-year-old girl, I knew nothing about the Navy; but that didn’t deter me, or other NCIS fans from watching. You simply learn as you go. The show also does a good job explaining what Naval terms they’re using in a way that feels natural for the story. That’s good writing, right there.

Most Surprising Death on ‘NCIS’

Some deaths we see coming on TV shows. Sometimes they’re predictable, or they just fit for the moment in that character’s story. On occasion, a tale just needs to end in a death.

But, according to a poll on Reddit, NCIS had one of the most shocking and jarring deaths right in season 2; Kate Todd, former Secret Service agent, first female lead on the show, died in season 2 episode 23, “Twilight.”

Characters dying on NCIS isn’t new, but the way Kate died was so shocking; Ari Haswari shot her in the head after she dove in front of Gibbs to save his life. Being a former Secret Service agent, that seems like an act of second nature to her, diving in front of bullets to save her boss.

The death fit for the character, as I can’t see Kate just standing by and letting Gibbs get shot. But NCIS was still such a young show. To kill off the first female character in the second season was a calculated risk by the writers that eventually paid off throughout the series, paving the way for future stories.