‘NCIS’ Franchises Got Completely Snubbed at 2021 Emmys

by Lauren Boisvert

Gibbs blows up in the finale; Ellie Bishop leaves the show; Mark Harmon could possibly be spending less time as Gibbs. How much more can NCIS fans possibly endure?

Well, how about no Emmy nominations? That’s right, for the whole franchise. Nothing for NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles, or NCIS: New Orleans. Not even a nomination for NOLA as a farewell, as the series was canceled in May of this year.

In 18 years, according to PopCulture, NCIS has never won an Emmy. Charles Durning did get nominated for a guest role he did on the show in 2005, playing Ernie Yost in the episode “Call of Silence.” Stunt coordinator Diamond Farnsworth also grabbed a nom in 2008 and 2013. But, in all that time, NCIS has never won.

Mark Harmon has never even been nominated for his outstanding work as Gibbs. NCIS is the number 1 drama in the world, so why doesn’t it get recognition for that achievement?

Why ‘NCIS’ Can’t Grab an Emmy

Unfortunately, it has something to do with the format of the show, tying into the “episodic versus serial” debate. As in, mystery-of-the-week shows versus long arcs spanning multiple episodes. NCIS is certainly a mystery-of-the-week show, but that’s part of its appeal. That’s why people come back to it, and why it’s the number 1 drama in the world.

But that’s also why it hasn’t won an Emmy. Episodic shows focus too much on one aspect of a character’s life. While they’re not necessarily flat characters–the NCIS crew still has substance–viewers don’t really see the other goings-on in that character’s world. They solve a crime, then they go home, and we don’t see them again until it’s time to solve the next crime. This isn’t bad, per se. It’s just different, and it’s not really what award shows look for. They want The Sopranos, and they want Breaking Bad.

Broadcast television shows also can’t be as dark and edgy as cable shows can. Broadcast networks include ABC, NBC, and CBS. In other words, free public channels.

Cable, on the other hand, is more like AMC, HBO, and Comedy Central. These channels run through fiber-optic cables and cost a fee with a cable network, but the shows on those channels can more or less do what they want, within reason.

In the end, many NCIS fans may feel like their favorite show has been cheated. But, it’s important to remember that awards aren’t everything; if you genuinely enjoy something, you won’t let a little something like no Emmy nominations get you down. The show is still alive and kicking, moving into its 19th year. That’s cause enough for celebration.