Mark Harmon and Ralph Waite, NCIS Mark Harmon and Ralph Waite, NCIS

Tuesday's ratings tally:

8 pm/ET
NCIS continued its streak as the night's most-watched program, delivering 17.86 million total viewers — a 14 percent week-to-week surge and quite possibly its biggest audience of the season-to-date; we'll know for sure later. Nonethless, it was the military drama's best performance in the 18-49 demo since Nov. 6, 2007. (Thanks, Papa Walton! And g'night, John-Boy!) House inched up 160K, to 12.82 mil, followed by Biggest Loser (which averaged a typical 7.45 mil).

9 pm
The Mentalist again bested Dancing with the Stars' results show, 14.86 mil to 14.37 mil. Fringe (9.53 mil) placed third, dropping 500K from its last outing, but topped the hour in demos.

10 pm
Without a Trace toppled some 13 percent yet still led the pack with 10.99 million viewers. SVU was No. 1 in demos, but slipped 800 thou to 9.4 mil. ABC's Eli Stone was welcomed back by an audience of 8.82 mil, a 44 percent increase over its Season 1 finale.