11 Fun Facts About ‘NCIS’ You Likely Never Knew

Here are some behind-the-scenes and even shocking details about one of television's most popular and longest running shows

by Paulette Cohn | Updated 12 Oct 2017 at 9:18 AM

“NCIS,” the number-one drama on television, will return for its 14th season on September 20 on CBS. Longtime cast members Mark Harmon, Pauley Perrette, Sean Murray and David McCallum will be joined by newcomers Wilmer Valderrama, Duane Henry and Jennifer Esposito, as the show moves off following the departure of Michael Weatherly (Tony DiNozzo).

But before the new season begins, check out these 11 fun facts that FOX411 sleuthed out about the crime drama:

1.) "JAG" inspired "NCIS." "NCIS" was a spin-off of "JAG," starring David James Elliott and Catherine Bell. Both shows were created by Don Bellisario, who served as a gunnery sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1955 to 1959.

2.) "NCIS" was called what? "NCIS" was originally named "NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service" to make it clear what the series was about in order to get viewers to tune in the first season.

3.) Namesake. Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs is named after Bellisario's father and grandfather.

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4.) Perrette's science background. It isn't a far stretch for Pauley Perrette to play Chief Forensic Scientist Abby Sciuto because in real life she studied sociology, psychology, and criminal science. She told FOX411, "I was super into school, and I got my master's degree in criminal science because I wanted to be a cop before all this happened."

5.) Family connections. Sean Murray, who plays Special Agent Timothy McGee, is Bellisario's stepson. Troian Bellisario, who plays McGee's sister Sarah, is Bellisario's biological daughter. More family members have guest-starred. Michael Bellisario played the role of crooked lab assistant Chip Sterling in Season 3, while Vivienne Bellisario (Bellisario's wife and Murray's mom) played the mysterious love interest of Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon) in Seasons 1 and 2.

6.) Abby's drink. Abby's Caf-Pow energy drink doesn't exist in real life, but you can buy a Caf-Pow cup or mug from the CBS online store. What Perrette actually asks to be put in the cup varies, but it is never an energy drink.

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7.) Most wanted. The NCIS Most Wanted Wall changes, but it is 15 portraits of the bad guys that the team is after. In the past it has included Ari Haswari (Rudolf Martin), Rene Benoit (Armand Asante) aka La Grenouille, Harper Dearing (Richard Schiff), and even real-life terrorists such as Osama Bin Laden, whose portrait was X'ed out with red tape when he was killed. But the show also has a sense of humor, and Bellisario's photo also hung among the gallery of most wanted.

8.) De Pablo is dedicated. In order to play an Israeli, de Pablo who, when she first joined the cast, was a Mossad agent, hired a language coach to help her whenever she needed to speak Hebrew.

9.) Holly wanted to play Kate. Lauren Holly auditioned for the role of Kate — but the producers thought she was a better fit as the in-charge director, Jenny Shepard.

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10.) Flashbacks. When Gibbs appears in flashbacks as a young man, the role is played by Harmon's real-life son, Sean.

11.) Real-Life NCIS. Even though "NCIS" is set in Washington, D.C., it films in Santa Clarita, California, just north of Los Angeles. But in at least one episode, the real NCIS headquarters appears in the background.

The one secret that has yet to be revealed is how Gibbs gets the boats he builds in his home basement out of his house once they are finished.

This Fox News piece is used by permission.

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