‘NCIS’: An Iconic Part of the Show Was the Result of a Marketing Deal

by Lauren Boisvert
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The NCIS flagship has been around for a good long while; it’s been on the air for 18 years, and in that time technology has changed, and grown, and evolved. From Gibbs’ flip phone to McGee’s tech-wizardry, not only does the technology span nearly two decades of advancement, it also spans generations as well.

But, there’s something about the NCIS computers that some people tend to miss. It just so happens that they’re all Dell products.

‘NCIS’: Sponsored by Dell

Well, it doesn’t “just so happen”; there’s a specific reason why all of the NCIS’ computers are Dell. CBS made a product placement deal with Dell that “requires that the show’s characters must use Dell equipment, but does not specify how the equipment can or cannot be used on the series.” Many fans say that the sheer amount of Dell products becomes distracting. But, once noticed, it’s not a detail easily forgotten.

Behind the Scenes Trivia

There are so many fun facts abut NCIS they could fill a book. For example, did you know Pauley Perrette’s background is actually in forensics, for real? According to IMDb, she was a criminology, psychology, and criminal science honors major in her undergraduate years. She went on to get her master’s degree in criminal science from Georgia State University before moving to New York City and pursuing acting. Abbey’s locket also includes a picture of Perrette’s real-life mother as a representation of Abbey’s adoptive mother.

Additionally, NCIS almost passed on Mark Harmon as Gibbs. Donald Bellisario “was not sure Harmon would be a good fit for Gibbs,” according to Two Red Dots. Apparently, Harmon impressed Bellisario after a 4-episode stint on The West Wing. Harmon played Secret Service Agent Simon Donovan, receiving an Emmy nomination, and eventually the role of Gibbs on NCIS. Mark Harmon also has real carpentry skills, and most of the tools in Gibbs’ workshop are actually Harmon. But while Gibbs builds boats in his basement, Harmon actually once “helped a neighbor build a plane.”

Ever wonder how NCIS is so accurate about Marine culture and jargon? Former showrunner and creator of NCIS, Donald Bellesario, actually was a Marine. From 1955 to 1959, Bellesario served in the U.S. Marine Corps as a Gunnery Sergeant. During his time, the Marine Corps awarded him the Good Conduct Medal. Because of his experiences, Bellesario portrays the armed forces in a favorable light on television. Most, if not all, of the knowledge about the Marine Corps “ethos and methodology” comes from his own experience.

There are so many things in NCIS other than the menagerie of Dell products to latch onto and obsess about; but, once you notice it, you’ll never stop noticing it. Seems like it would make a great drinking game.

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