‘NCIS’: Why Fans Feel the Show Connects With Audiences Across All Age Groups

by Shelby Scott
(Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic)

The latest season of “NCIS” observes the beloved crime drama’s 19th year on CBS. After premiering in 2003, the show has collected a broad variety of fans internationally. 19 years later, fans now range in age from their mid-teens all the way up through 60+. A recent Reddit thread revealed how and why the show is so popular with fans across the age range spectrum.

The original poster for the Reddit thread shares in their quandary that they themselves are in their teens. The same individual shared that while the age gap in “NCIS” viewers is interesting, they also often forget that many of the account users on Reddit are older as well.

Nevertheless, the most important questions OP posts are, “Is it cool being older and watching younger people get into [“NCIS”] and vice versa? Is there anyone who watched this show air from the beginning?”

How Old Are ‘NCIS’ Fans?

OP’s question sees answers, again, from individuals ranging in age from as young as 13 up through 64. The older generation of “NCIS” fans who responded to the question typically shared that they watched the show from its first airing. As a whole, it makes sense as the first episode, “Yankee White,” takes place shortly after 9/11. Meanwhile, many younger fans stated they began watching the show with their parents or grandparents. They stated they watched with family in the earlier seasons, following “NCIS” on their own toward newer seasons.

And while OP was surprised to discover the age gap across “NCIS” fans, one respondent, skewing toward the “older” end of the spectrum stated, “I watched [“NCI”] from the beginning. It’s cool that younger viewers like it as well. I’d imagine most of the ‘NCIS’ fans are 45 plus though.”

One “youngster” took offense, responding with, “All ages enjoy this show. Don’t categorize a storyline by who it appeals to.”

Overall, the Reddit thread revealed the breadth of fans internationally, in relation to which generational group the show appeals to.

But What Exactly Makes the Show So Relatable Across Age Groups?

While it’s obvious that “NCIS” doesn’t solely resonate with one age group, there is a multitude of reasons as to why that’s so. And I think one of those reasons is because the plotlines emphasize inter-character relationships, as well as the ways in which team members connect with “outside” families and individuals throughout certain episodes.

This is part of what makes it easy for families as a whole to sit down and watch “NCIS” together. The plotlines involve not only the victim, the investigative team, and the criminal. It also explores frequently explores the relationships behind each victim as well as the experiences and past traumas of many of the show’s criminals.

Many of the Reddit OP’s responders stated they began watching the show when they were younger, whether that be developmentally little or teens to early 20s. One response reads, “Although I am only 19 I did technically start watching from season 2/3ish [be]cause my parents would watch it when I was a baby. Still watch today.” The group’s responses emphasize that many “NCIS” fans created some sort of bond with family members through early memories of watching the show with loved ones.