‘NCIS’ Creator Tried for Years to Make Show Before Creating ‘JAG’

by Shelby Scott

As “NCIS” fans well know, the hit procedural drama has been years in the running. This week, the hit show closed out the first half of season 19. However, fans might not know that prior to its debut in 2003, the show was actually years in the making. Prior to “JAG’s” television debut, “NCIS” creator Donald P. Bellisario spent years trying to make a show about the naval criminal investigative service. Now, we have an opportunity to learn about the show’s creation through its very first technical advisor, Richard Warmack.

In speaking with TVInsider, Warmack, a genuine NCIS agent, shared that the real-life agency had two conditions in meeting with Bellisario. That was, “Get our name right, and we are never the bad guys.”

Longtime fans of well know that, over its many seasons, there remains a running joke about “NCIS’s” name. Often, the uninitiated did not know what “NCIS” stood for nor who the agency actually was. Often, in investigations, witnesses and suspects alike were clueless as to “NCIS’s” existence. Comically, after Gibbs’ friendship ignited with FBI Agent Tobias Fornell, we saw the “NCIS” team competing with the FBI for recognition.

Regardless, Warmack shared his first meeting in helping create “NCIS” saw face 10 writers who “peppered” him with questions. He informed both Bellisario and the team that NCIS is a small, proud, and capable organization. He emphasized they work hard to seek the truth. In that aspect, Outsiders know Bellisario and the rest of the cast and crew have maintained that integral part of the agency.

Technical Advisor Helped ‘NCIS’ Invent Special Agent Gibbs

Richard Warmack’s contributions to “NCIS” have no doubt led to the beloved crime show’s success 19 years later. After laying down the agency’s requirements and providing Bellisario background on NCIS, Warmack met with Mark Harmon. In his piece on TVInsider, he shared he still has a positive relationship with the actor nearly two decades later.

After speaking with “NCIS” writers, Bellisario insisted Warmack, who would eventually become the show’s first technical advisor, meet with Mark Harmon the following day. To his surprise, the actor asked the NCIS agent to meet with him at his house.

Warmack said his first impression of the Leroy Jethro Gibbs actor saw a man who was “both likeable and real.”

The technical advisor revealed that while the “NCIS” actor was truly interested in learning about the agency, Warmack also found him to be a caring and genuine person.

“Mark listened intently as I answered his questions and we just talked about my experiences with the agency,” Warmack said. After visiting several of the agency’s locations and its headquarters in Washington D.C., the show’s first technical advisor said, “Mark was truly interested in hearing about all of those assignments and how the work differed in each.”

Over time, Warmack and the “NCIS” icon developed a friendship that has withstood the hit series’ 19 seasons on the air. Now, as “NCIS” has regretfully said goodbye to Leroy Jethro Gibbs, Warmack revealed that after all these years, “they got our name right, and they never make us the bad guys.”