In the episode "Hiatus Part 2" it is revealed that Gibbs joined NIS (changed the same year to NCIS) in 1992 following the death of his wife and daughter. However, in the JAG episode "Ice Queen" in 2003 he tells Lt.Cmdr. Rabb that he has been an agent for 19 years, which would mean he would have joined NIS in 1984.
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Numerous times, autopsies are conducted by Ducky, who is wearing the same clothes he wore in the field. Not only does this promote cross-contamination, but it is also highly unsanitary as well as an OSHA violation.
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Many times throughout the series, forensic weapons specialists, assassins, and a retired Marine Gunnery Sergeant refer to a "suppressor" as a "silencer". While the audience of the show may know it as such, the characters should not.
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After showing a very large back tattoo of a cross while she's changing clothes in front of McGee, various outfits of Abby's have in succeeding instances revealed her to not have said tattoo.
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Between 2003 and 2005, "NCIS" and JAG had different Secretaries of the Navy, even though the two shows exist within the same universe.
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In ep14 of sea9 (The Life Before His Eyes) it is indicated that Gibbs's mother left because she couldn't stay faithful to Gibbs's father. In ep5 of sea10 (The Namesake) it is said that she committed suicide after finding out she had cancer.
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Season 14 (2020-2021) of NCIS takes place during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the show is connected to Magnum P.I. via a NCIS: Los Angeles crossover with Hawaii Five-0. Magnum P.I. is set post-pandemic.
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The team's office is located within the District of Columbia. Many episodes begin with the team working at their desks and Gibbs saying "Grab your gear. We're headed for (Norfolk or Virginia Beach)." Without traffic, this drive takes from 4-5 hours, as it is close to 250 miles, but the team always seems to be there in time for lunch.
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When the scene is towards the team's office windows, a view of the Display Ship Barry, The Anacostia River, and Anacostia can all be seen, and is correct. However at the top of the view is the Rotunda of the US Capitol Building, which is actually north of the Navy Yard and not south like all the other objects seen through the window.
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Too often, scenes that take place in Virginia close to Washington, DC show mountains close by in the background. The Blue Ridge Mountains are further west than would be indicated on the show. Other times, things such as "a farm near Reston" are mentioned. Reston, VA is very built up, and there are no farms near that town.
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Scenes in Rock Creek Park, in Washington, DC, often show mountains close by. There are no mountains anywhere near Washington DC that close.
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When analyzing shell casings, there's more than one reference about the fact that it "could be either a Glock or a Beretta". The difference would be readily apparent to an experienced observer. Glock: the firing pin leaves on the primer a distinctive rectangular mark plus, in many cases, the extraction leaves a mark near the mouth of the case. Beretta: they leave just a small mark on the primer left by the percussion pin. There's no way you can mistake a Glock and a Beretta, given a spent casing fired from either pistol.
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The team is based out of the DC Field Office (DCFO), but often investigates incidents in places such as Richmond, VA and Norfolk, VA. These locations are actually the jurisdiction of the Norfolk Field Office (NFFO)
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When the series began, Gibbs was 53 years old. As of 2018, Gibbs is at least 8 years beyond NCIS field agent mandatory retirement age of 57.
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The real NCIS HQ is actually located in Quantico, VA, not the Navy Yard in SE DC.
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Gibbs's team routinely photographs the crime scene before allowing evidence to be touched or moved. Many times, however, a piece of evidence is picked up and handled before being photographed.
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While often the science and technology portrayed in this series (as well as the CSI series, which is also shown on CBS) is accurate or mirrors sound scientific principle, there have been times when methods have led to results simply not possible in the real world.
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In an episode of NCIS, the team discusses the difference between ash and maple bats, explaining that ash, while more popular, tend to explode rather than just make a clean break like maple bats. In reality, it's the maple bats that explode, while ash bats make clean breaks.
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When ever a handgun is fired, the muzzle remains level and steady. Even in the hands of the most experienced shooter, there is recoil and slight muzzle rise, or "bounce", especially when firing multiple shots in quick succession. This never happens to the agents.
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The character of LTC Hollis Mann is often shown participating in and supervising investigations. In the U. S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, investigative functions are performed by CID Special Agents selected from enlisted applicants; commissioned officers perform only administrative command functions and are not trained as investigators.
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In the real world, when Gibb's team are at a crime scene, or visiting Abby in her lab, or even Ducky in the autopsy room they would be wearing head to toe "forensic boiler suits", similar to those seen in microchip manufacturing clean rooms, to avoid contaminating evidence. However, the decision not to show the characters in these boiler suits is probably down to a creative decision for the audience to tell the characters apart.
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Even though they should be sending a large contingent of NCIS agents, police and/or other federal agencies to many emergencies, many times it is just Gibbs and his team confronting dangerous criminals and are often outgunned by the bad guys who have automatic weapons.
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In S3:E2 "Kill Ari, Part 2", the license plate on Ari's SUV is shown as a Virginia tag# 724 TJA. In S3:E11 "Model Behavior", the same tag is shown on the medical examiner's truck. Additionally, since the ME truck is an official federal government vehicle, it would have US Government, not state, tags.
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