I tend to pay very little attention to directors and producers. I can tell you that Stars Wars is a George Lucas film, but very little beyond that. It has simply never been something that struck me as terribly important. I’ve always focused primarily on plot and secondarily on the cast. The other details were never particularly important.

Recently, I have been watching a lot of NCIS. I got into the show about a year ago, and have been DVR’ing the crap out of it lately. I really don’t watch a ton of TV, so NCIS probably makes up about 80% of my non-baseball viewing right now.

I’m not really drawn toward military themed shows, so NCIS is a bit of an odd choice. It’s basically a cop show with Navy details. Why wouldn’t I just pick from the various cop shows currently on TV (Criminal Minds has been suggested to me by several people)?

A big reason why I enjoy the show is that is has a large number of well-developed characters. So many of the characters have depth that it’s impossible for me to choose a favorite character. I started watching the show because of Mark Harmon – who, for reasons that I can’t fully explain, is one of my favorite actors. On the other hand, I hang on every word of Ducky’s stories. I like the computer geek stuff that McGee delves into and the forensic science that is Abby’s forte. And let’s not forget DiNozzo getting smacked in the head or Ziva beating up some guy who underestimated her.

In other words, there’s not a whole lot that I don’t like about the show. I found myself enjoying the show so much that I want to Wikipedia to look up some of the details.

I had known that the producer was Donald Bellisario – but I wasn’t aware of Bellisario’s other credits (I told you, I pay very little attention to them). Quantum Leap, JAG, and Magnum PI? It struck me that this man was responsible for perhaps 40% of the dramas I have ever liked. When I watch non-sports programming, I generally lean toward comedies. The fact that I liked every Bellisario show that I had ever seen spoke volumes to me.

I always say that a true test of a story is the ability to interest me when I have no particular interest in the subject matter. In the case of Quantum Leap and Magnum, the subject areas were topics that I enjoy. Bellasario’s biggest challenge was getting me to enjoy JAG and NCIS when I really don’t have any special interest in the military – and he passed in flying colors.

If you haven’t caught NCIS yet, watch the new season on Tuesday nights this fall – or catch reruns on USA, Sleuth, or Ion. Reruns are on quite frequently. If NCIS isn’t your thing, give Bellisario’s other works a chance. This guy is truly an American treasure.

[Note: click on any of the links to visit the Amazon store for the series.  We will earn a small commission on any sales.  This does not increase your cost.]

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Kosmo is the founder of The Soap Boxers and writes on a variety of topics. Many of his short stories have been collected into Kindle books.

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