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Used in an assignment at university (2003), in a Writing for the Public paper.   Graded A-.

Promotional feature for NCIS

This promotional feature was laid out as if for an online magazine release.  


Please note - I have no connection to the CBS show NCIS.   I am just a fan of the show, the creator, and the people involved in the show, and so used my interest in this area to put together a piece for my Writing assignment at university.


*Online Magazine Title Banner*
*Additional Banner - Magazine Tagline*

A New Navy Show for Belisario *online search engine*
J.A.G. spin-off to dock this fall  
Posted on Fri, Sept. 26, 2003
by Beth Manning

This fall Belisarius Productions, Paramount Television and CBS have combined forces to produce a new navy series, Navy NCIS.

NAVY NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service) is about a group of special agents investigating any and all crimes that have even the slightest connection to Navy and Marine Corps personnel, regardless of rank or position. 

Inspired by its parent show, JAG, Navy NCIS has drawn on the jingoistic attributes of this military law series, but at the same time has distanced itself from the chain of command problems inherent in JAG.  

Mark Harmon as Special Agent Gibbs on NCIS

With Belisarius Productions behind Navy NCIS, its not surprising that CBS is more than willing to take a risk with this new show.   Belisarius Productions is the brainchild of Donald P. Belisario, a creator/producer who has achieved outstanding success with numerous groundbreaking television series.

Belisario’s shows have regularly gone on to have long stretches on network television, continuing effectively in syndication long after the series end.    Some of his shows have even achieved cult status, and these include the two science fiction series: Battlestar Galactica (1970s), and Quantum Leap (1990s).

Crime, law and order, have often been the center-point for Belisario’s productions, particularly in Magnum PI (1980-88), Tequila & Bonetti (1992), First Monday (2001-), and JAG (1995-).

All but one of these series survived their debut season.   Battlestar Galactica survived several seasons, as did Quantum Leap, and both are still hugely popular.   Magnum PI was a hit for the CBS network throughout its eight seasons.   First Monday, while only in its second season has found a reasonable audience, and this is due to the topical storylines and strong acting from such greats as James Garner.   JAG was cancelled by NBC in its debut season, but CBS saw its potential and picked JAG up.   CBS’s insight was proved as the show grew and grew into a highly acclaimed series that is about to enter its ninth season.

As well as creating good vehicles, Belisario has always had the knack of picking the right actors to drive the characters he creates.   While the storylines and narrative structures are crucial to carrying a series, it is also the actors that make or break a show.


Cast of Magnum P.I.
Magnum PI.   Thomas Selleck as “Thomas Magnum” with the core cast members.

Cast of Quantum Leap
“Al” and “Dr Samuel Beckett” – Dean Stockwell and Scott Bakula – from the cult show Quantum Leap.

With Magnum PI, Belisario discovered Tom Selleck, the heartthrob of the 1980s for many television viewers; he brought a rakish charm to the series.   Scott Bakula got his break in Quantum Leap, where he perfectly suited the character of a brilliant, yet vulnerable, scientist stuck in a perpetual time-travel loop.   For JAG, Belisario found a young Canadian actor, David James Elliott, to play the role of a high-flying naval lawyer for the Judge Advocate General’s office in Washington D.C.

When casting Navy NCIS, Belisario brought in two actors who have already achieved a great deal of success in television – Mark Harmon and David McCallum

Mark Harmon’s acting ability has garnered him several award nominations, most recently for his guest actor role in The West Wing, and his work in the hospital drama, Chicago Hope.   It was his work in another hospital drama that first brought him to the industry’s attention.   Co-starring in St. Elsewhere, Harmon was impressive as the suave doctor who contracted AIDS – back at a time when mention of HIV, on screen, was rare, let alone playing a character dying of the disease.   Harmon’s good looks didn’t go unnoticed either; in 1986 People Magazine named him “sexiest man alive”.

McCallum will be familiar to the older audience as Illya Kuryakin on The Man from U.N.C.L.E.   He would seem to suit the role of the quirky medical examiner well, and will draw in those who enjoyed McCallum on U.N.C.L.E.

With these two accomplished actors, together with the other ingredients – the two successful concepts and Belisario’s creative touch – Navy NCIS has all the makings of a successful television series. 



Mark Harmon - People's Sexiest Man Alive (1986)
Mark Harmon – People’s Sexiest Man Alive (1986).

Mark Harmon as Special Agent Gibbs on NCIS
Promotional shot for Navy NCIS.
Copyright © Beth Manning 2003.    Beth Manning is a freelance writer/photographer.    

Note (2010):

Since writing this I've discovered a few errors, and some of the shows dates have changed.   JAG finished in 2005.   First Monday didn't even complete it's first season.    And Belisario was not the creator of Battlestar Galactica (Original 70s series), but he was a producer, director and writer for the series.   Shortly after premiering, Navy NCIS became known as just NCIS.    The show continues its hugely successful run, and has just started filming the 9th season.   A spin-off NCIS: LA also started in 2009, as is still in production.


Please note - I have no connection to the CBS show NCIS.   I am just a fan of the show, the creator, and the people involved in the show, and so used my interest in this area to put together a piece for my Writing assignment at university.

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