Tuesday, 16 April 2013

A-Z Challenge: N: NCIS

What I Learned About Writing from Watching TV aka Justifying my TV Habit.

 NCIS. A procedural, by the numbers, solve the murder show, right? Each week the same thing happens. Tony says something Gibbs overhears. I wonder how that many naval related murders could possibly happen. Abby is awesome. Tony teases McGee. Gibbs is gruff. They catch the bad guy.
What does this teach us about writing? There are tons of procedural shows like this. For me, this shows sometimes you just have to do something well. There’s a lot of emphasis on having the world’s most original idea when you start out in writing, but sometimes it’s about the execution. NCIS executes its idea well, week after week.

Try doing the same.

Quote: Rule Number One: Never let suspects stay together.

(I love Gibbs’s rules!)

I could have gone for: Numb3rs. Nikita.


  1. I've only seen a few episodes of NCIS, but I agree that each was executed very well.

    And hahaha on "I wonder how that many naval related murders could possibly happen"

  2. As many variations of this show that is on the air, U can honestly say I've seen none of them.

  3. This is one of the family favourites. You're correct, there is a formula to the show--as with many of these dramas. What makes it stand apart is not only the execution, but the characters. They all have their quirks, which play to their strengths and weaknesses. As writers we should take note: you can write a novel that sticks to an established formula, but it must be well-written, with strong characters.

  4. This made me laugh because I've also wondered how many Naval-related murders really happen. :)

  5. MJ - heh, I wonder it every week! :)

    JL - ha, well I've only watched the original and I have to say I've picked it up fairly recently!

    Colin - yes you are right the quirks of the characters do help sell this for sure.

    Julie - Hee great minds!!!

  6. About 3 weeks ago, I happened to catch an episode of NCIS, just by accident, and I was glued. It seems like a fast-paced series...
    Happy A to Z'ing.

    ( Sorry I haven't been participating in the Friday Bloghop... blame it on the madness of the A to Z challenge... will resume after the challenge...)

    Writer In Transit

  7. Michelle - it is enjoyable!

    (no worries!)

  8. I really do like NCIS but have never gotten to where I have put it on the DVR. I think at one point it conflicted with other shows I was recording and I stopped watching it. I watch the reruns on USA all the time. It's one of those shows I have in the back of my head that I want to start from the beginning and watch them all.

  9. Jeff - true, it is one of those shows which is repeated a lot so almost no need to set a date to watch it! But nice some time to get the thread of it - I never saw the early ones myself.


Please comment, I'd love to know what you think! :)