Many ‘NCIS’ Guest Stars Aren’t Actors At All — They’re Really In the Navy

NCIS has been around for years and has inspired several spinoffs. Throughout its run, the fan-favorite show has had several high-profile guest stars. Most, of course, were actors, but interestingly, some weren’t. NCIS has had a few guest stars with actual rank in the U.S. Navy.

‘NCIS’ has had several actual NCIS agents serve as guest stars

NCIS follows several colorful agents investigating cr***s connected to Navy and Marine Corps personnel. Over the years, real-life high-ranking members of the US Navy have graced the show. As Looper shares, in 2005, NCIS director David Brant retired from the post he’d held onto for nearly a decade. Around that time, Brant was a guest star on the show’s ninth episode of season 3 — playing himself.

In the episode, Gibbs asks Brant if the rumors of him leaving the agency are true, to which Brant says, “I like to refer to it as a lateral move into the recreational sector Jethro.” Brant retired a month after the episode aired. His real-life successor Thomas Betro also had his time on the show appearing in season 5, episode 4 in an uncredited role as “Coffee Man.”

Ray Mabus, who served as Secretary of the Navy for almost a decade, also appeared on the show during his tenure. Mabus appeared in season 7, episode 9, titled “Child’s Play,” and in “Semper Fortis” in season 12, episode 8. Mabus was simply credited as “Ray” in the episode.

Celebrities you may have forgotten appeared on ‘NCIS’

Lots of famous actors have appeared in NCIS episodes. Halloween scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis appeared in season 9 for four episodes playing Dr. Samantha Ryan, Gibbs’ love interest. The actor was initially supposed to star in two episodes, but audiences loved her performance on the show so much that the producers decided to add two more episodes to her role.

A couple of years before she became famous thanks to Stranger Things, Millie Bobby Brown appeared in season 12, playing a sociopathic child who shoots and m*****s her mother.

In 2016, NCIS received an invitation to film inside the White House. The episode featured the then-First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, who appeared as herself to discuss the Joining Forces initiative, a real-life nationwide program meant to support service members, veteran, and their family members.

What does ‘NCIS’ get wrong or right?

Like the TV NCIS, the real agency handles cr***s focusing on the Navy and Marine Corps. However, like any other TV show, NCIS takes liberties to further its storyline. NCIS Special Agent Bob Milie told CBS Pittsburgh that NCIS: Los Angeles “is very realistic of what we do.”

The agents told the outlet that all the iterations of the fan-favorite show hit the bullseye when showcasing the dedication real-life NCIS agents have to the job. Still, there are a few things the show misses the mark on.

For instance, the agents understand their boundaries and, unlike the show, don’t struggle with other agencies over jurisdictions. According to the agents, they always work with the other agencies if a case requires crossing boundaries.

Additionally, the real-life NCIS doesn’t have a forensic analyst standing by or a medical examiner doing autopsies, saying that the Army lab handles most of those duties.

And NCIS communications director MaryAnn Cummings told USO that the affectionate head slap that Gibbs gives his agents on the back of the head doesn’t happen. She said they would have to face disciplinary measures if something like that happens in real life, especially with a high-ranking member like Gibbs.

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