In 2003, police procedural television series, NCIS made its debut on US television screens. The show followed the story of a group of special agents, working for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, who spend their days investigating crimes.

Due to its interesting storylines, as well as its captivating characters, NCIS quickly became a huge success with audiences, and a ratings winner for many years to come. But did you know, that before the first episode aired, the NCIS team appeared in another series?

You didn’t?

Well do you know that NCIS has multiple spin-off shows, which run concurrently with the original series? Nope?!

Hmm… then you probably need a little assistance navigating your way through the NCIS franchise. But don’t worry, this is where I can help!  

In this post I am providing a simple-to-follow guide to NCIS, with the aim of presenting the viewing order for all of the series. This post will take into account all of the shows, from NCIS to NCIS: Los Angeles and beyond, to offer up the NCIS chronology from start to finish.

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Explaining NCIS

Image: ©CBS

As mentioned above, before NCIS hit television screens, the NCIS characters made their first on screen appearance on another TV show. That show was the legal drama, JAG.

During spring 2003, JAG aired two episodes, ‘Ice Queen’ and ‘Meltdown’, which both appeared during the show’s eighth season. These episodes were very much JAG stories, but they were conceived as a platform for NCIS, to essentially act as backdoor pilot for a potential spin-off show.

If the episodes proved popular, then an NCIS show would get the greenlight. If they were duds, JAG would move on as usual and the NCIS idea would fall by the wayside.   

Due to the strength of these two episodes, the NCIS concept was deemed a hit and the show was given the go-ahead. The show was quickly put into production and beginning in September of the same year, the first season of NCIS made its debut.

Image: ©CBS
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This initial run of NCIS was a hit with audiences, and in 2004 a second season followed, with a third season coming in 2005, and a fourth in 2006. Season Five then hit screens in 2007, and Season Six arrived in 2008.

As part of the sixth season of NCIS, the show aired the two-part story, ‘Legend’. As with the pilot episodes in JAG, ‘Legend’ acted as another backdoor pilot, this time introducing an LA-based NCIS team who could potentially lead their own show.

Image: ©CBS
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Once again, this pilot proved popular, and from 2009 onward, NCIS was accompanied by a sister show, NCIS: Los Angeles. This pairing of NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles worked well together, and operated as a strong TV duo.

For the next few years, NCIS continued through seasons Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten and Eleven. Meanwhile, NCIS: Los Angeles made its way through seasons One, Two, Three, Four and Five.

Image: ©CBS

During the eleventh season of NCIS, the show aired the two-part story ‘Crescent City’. This double-episode acted as yet another backdoor pilot, which ultimately paved the way for the next spin-off show, NCIS: New Orleans.

Season One of NCIS: New Orleans aired in 2014. The show then continued on the air for six additional seasons, again working in conjunction with NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles, as audiences got used to watching three shows on their TV screens.

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Then in 2021, NCIS: New Orleans aired its seventh and final season. After seven years the show had come to the end of its run, and it looked as if NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles would be reduced down to a duo.

However, NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles were quickly joined by a new series in the form of NCIS: Hawai’i, taking the franchise back up to three shows. And demonstrating the continued popularity of the NCIS brand, another new series was also announced in the shape of NCIS: Sydney.

The Australia-set spin-off show, NCIS: Sydney, went into production in 2022. Its debut season is set to air in 2023.

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The NCIS shows to date

Image: ©CBS

As a quick guide, here are all the NCIS shows to date:

  • NCIS – 19 seasons (2003 – 2022)
  • NCIS: Los Angeles – 13 seasons (2009 – 2022)
  • NCIS: New Orleans – 7 seasons (2014 – 2021)
  • NCIS: Hawai’i – 1 season (2021 – 2022)
  • NCIS: Sydney – 1 season (2023)
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NCIS in order

Image: ©CBS

As you can see from above, the NCIS franchise is pretty big, and this may seem intimidating and confusing to newcomers – but it really isn’t! There are a handful of shows in the franchise, most of which aired simultaneously, so it is simply a case of knowing which shows aired and in what order they were broadcast.

And this is where I help you out.

If you wish to watch the NCIS franchise in chronological order, beginning with the JAG episodes, and running through the original show, NCIS: Los Angeles, NCIS: New Orleans, NCIS: Hawai’i, and NCIS: Sydney, then you simply need to follow this order:

  • JAG: Season Eight ep 20: ‘Ice Queen’ & ep 21: ‘Meltdown’ (2003)
  • NCIS: Season One (2003 – 2004)
  • NCIS: Season Two (2004 – 2005)
  • NCIS: Season Three (2005 – 2006)
  • NCIS: Season Four (2006 – 2007)
  • NCIS: Season Five (2007 – 2008)
  • NCIS: Season Six (2008 – 2009)
  • NCIS: Season Seven (2009 – 2010)
  • NCIS: Los Angeles: Season One (2009 – 2010)
  • NCIS: Season Eight (2010 – 2011)
  • NCIS: Los Angeles: Season Two (2010 – 2011)
  • NCIS: Season Nine (2011 – 2012)
  • NCIS: Los Angeles: Season Three (2011 – 2012)
  • NCIS: Season Ten (2012 – 2013)
  • NCIS: Los Angeles: Season Four (2012 – 2013)
  • NCIS: Season Eleven (2013 – 2014)
  • NCIS: Los Angeles: Season Five (2013 – 2014)
  • NCIS: New Orleans: Season One (2014 – 2014)
  • NCIS: Season Twelve (2014 – 2015)
  • NCIS: Los Angeles: Season Six (2014 – 2015)
  • NCIS: New Orleans: Season Two (2014 – 2015)
  • NCIS: Season Thirteen (2015 – 2016)
  • NCIS: Los Angeles: Season Seven (2015 – 2016)
  • NCIS: New Orleans: Season Three (2015 – 2016)
  • NCIS: Season Fourteen (2016 – 2017)
  • NCIS: Los Angeles: Season Eight (2016 – 2017)
  • NCIS: New Orleans: Season Four (2017 – 2018)
  • NCIS: Season Fifteen (2017 – 2018)
  • NCIS: Los Angeles: Season Nine (2017 – 2018)
  • NCIS: New Orleans: Season Five (2018 – 2019)
  • NCIS: Season Sixteen (2018 – 2019)
  • NCIS: Los Angeles: Season Ten (2018 – 2019)
  • NCIS: New Orleans: Season Six (2019 – 2020)
  • NCIS: Season Seventeen (2019 – 2020)
  • NCIS: Los Angeles: Season Eleven (2019 – 2020)
  • NCIS: New Orleans: Season Seven (2020 – 2021)
  • NCIS: Season Eighteen (2020 – 2021)
  • NCIS: Los Angeles: Season Twelve (2020 – 2021)
  • NCIS: Season Nineteen (2021 – 2022)
  • NCIS: Los Angeles: Season Thirteen (2021 – 2022)
  • NCIS: Hawai’i: Season One (2021 – 2022)
  • NCIS: Sydney: Season One (2023)

Please note: As multiple shows aired at the same time, you may get the odd episode which crosses over with another from a sister show, but the above list is the best way to watch the NCIS shows in as close to chronological order as possible.

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If you’re a fan of the NCIS franchise, and you want to watch or re-watch some of the shows, then you may wish to know that various box sets of each series are available on DVD.

One such release is the NCI: New Orleans Complete Series DVD box set, which includes all the episodes of NCI: New Orleans in one handy collection.

The NCI: New Orleans Complete Series DVD box set is available from all good entertainment stockists, including Amazon US and Amazon UK.

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Thank you for stopping by It’s A Stampede! to read through this post about NCIS – I hope it has proved useful. For more useful posts, be sure to check out the recommended reads below.

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Disclaimer: I earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article.

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