Join or Sign In
Sign in to customize your TV listings
We've done the investigative work on these shows, from Line of Duty to Bones
NCIS, CBS' extraordinarily long-running and popular investigative procedural drama, has been on for so long that all of its most famous cast members have left. Sasha Alexander, Cote de Pablo, Michael Weatherly, Pauley Perrette, all long gone. Even the show's star, Mark Harmon, isn't on it anymore, having left early in the current season, the show's 19th. And yet, the rest of the cast, which includes Sean Murray (who's been there from the beginning), Brian Dietzen, and Wilmer Valderrama, keeps on cracking wise and solving crimes, and the audience keeps tuning in.
The longevity of NCIS is a testament to the performances and chemistry of the show's ensemble cast, as well as the writers' ability to merge compelling long-term story arcs with cases of the week. Created by Donald P. Bellisario, the series follows a team of agents from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. For the first 18 seasons, the military-themed procedural was anchored by Harmon as the gruff but respected Leroy Jethro Gibbs, a Marine veteran in charge of a group of NCIS agents who solve crimes and murder cases related to the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.
Find Out Where to Stream Anything in TV Guide's Search Engine for Streaming Shows
If you've had your fill of NCIS or are simply looking to find something similar to pass the time, we've curated the perfect list of shows to watch next, from excellent military-themed dramas, action series littered with heroics, and even a legal drama or two. If you like NCIS, these are the shows you should watch next.
Looking for more recommendations of what to watch next? We have a ton of them! And if you're looking for more hand-picked recommendations based on shows you love, we have those too, as well as recommendations for Netflix (movies/shows), Amazon Prime Video (movies/shows), Hulu (movies/shows), Disney+ (movies/shows), HBO Max (movies/shows), Apple TV+, and Peacock.
If you're a fan of NCIS, there's a decent chance you've already seen the show's spin-offs set in Los Angeles, New Orleans, and Hawai'i. But if not, these shows should be your first stop as they'll be the most similar in terms of narrative, themes, structure, and tone. The first spin-off premiered in 2009 and follows an elite team from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service's Office of Special Projects, which is based in Los Angeles and involves undercover assignments. The second spin-off ran from 2014 until 2021 and followed a team of NCIS agents investigating crimes involving U.S. Navy and Marine Corps personnel in and around the city of New Orleans. Meanwhile, the third and most recent spin-off debuted in the fall of 2021 and stars Vanessa Lachey as the first woman to be named special agent in charge of NCIS Pearl Harbor. You can't go wrong no matter which you choose to watch first.
Over the course of NCIS's nearly two decades on air, the fact that the show is itself a spin-off of another long-running procedural has been somewhat forgotten. But the series was born from JAG, a legal drama set in Washington, D.C., within the world of the U.S. Navy. Also created by NCIS creator Donald P. Bellisario, JAG followed the exploits of judge advocates — also known as the JAG Corps, hence the show's title — who are lawyers who are commissioned officers and work as the legal arm of the Navy. The show ran for 10 seasons, with NCIS being spun off during Season 8.
NCIS fans were beside themselves when Michael Weatherly, who played fan favorite character Tony DiNozzo, left NCIS after 13 seasons of helping Gibbs catch the bad guy. Well, Weatherly didn't stray too far from his former home. The actor took on the role of Dr. Jason Bull, a psychologist and trial-science expert who heads up a jury consulting firm, on the CBS legal drama Bull. While the character might not be as inherently charming or as smooth as DiNozzo, if Weatherly was your favorite thing about NCIS, you'll enjoy Bull — though Weatherly's off-screen conduct, which led to CBS settling a lawsuit with actress Eliza Dushku after she accused Weatherly of sexually harassing her and retaliating against her when she stood up for herself, may make you like the show — and Weatherly himself — a lot less.
NCIS would not be what it is without its ensemble cast, which features numerous agents, all of different levels, as well as medical personnel and forensics experts. If you're looking for another show that features this type of complete package — not every crime drama fits the bill! — turn your sights to the long-running ensemble series Bones. The show stars Emily Deschanel as Temperance "Bones" Brennan, a forensic anthropologist working at the fictional Jeffersonian Institute who partners with David Boreanaz's FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth to solve complex murders by examining human remains. While the show largely revolves around its two leads, none of their work would be possible without the help of a team of experts, which includes an entomologist, a forensic artist, multiple graduate student interns, and even a psychologist.
If you've already checked out most of the crime dramas stateside, it's time to head across the pond to the U.K., which has some of the best police dramas in recent memory. One such show is Jed Mercurio's Line of Duty (Mercurio, for those unaware, is the man behind the intense political thriller Bodyguard). The series follows officers working in the anti-corruption unit as they root out shady cops within the police force. While the show is a lot more serialized than NCIS, it's a thrilling and addictive police drama that will scratch the same itch. And with six seasons already under the show's belt, you'll have plenty to watch (though it should be noted the show averages just six episodes per season).
Upon first glance, the action-packed Amazon Prime Video drama Jack Ryan doesn't seem to have a lot in common with the buttoned-up NCIS or the cases that Gibbs and his team solve each week. But just because the format and tone of the series are different, it doesn't mean the show won't appeal to the same part of you. The series follows a young-ish Jack Ryan (John Krasinski) as he transitions from a desk job in the CIA into a heroic field operative who helps save the world from foreign threats. While that might not be the day-to-day work of NCIS agents, Gibbs and the rest of the team definitely know a thing or two about saving the day.
If the military aspect of NCIS is what appeals most to you, then the CBS-turned-Paramount+ drama SEAL Team will likely be of interest as well. The show stars David Boreanaz (that man is everywhere!) as the head of Bravo Team, an elite group of Navy SEALs who take on dangerous missions around the world at great cost to them and their families. The show explores the lives of Bravo Team when they're in the field, as well as their home lives, including the personal sacrifices made along the way in service to their country.
What is an idealistic political drama doing on this list? Well, it's here for two reasons. First and foremost is Mark Harmon, who in 2002 appeared as a Secret Service agent assigned to temporarily protect Allison Janney's C.J. Cregg for four episodes. Harmon received an Emmy nomination for Best Guest Actor for his memorable performance. But that's not all that came out of the appearance. NCIS creator Donald P. Bellisario credits Harmon's performance on The West Wing as being what ultimately sold him on Harmon as Gibbs. So without The West Wing, NCIS as we know it likely would not exist. The second reason, of course, is that the show is a compelling drama set in Washington, D.C., that merges serialized arcs dealing with politics, the American people, and national security with episodic stories that never fail to resonate with viewers.