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100 best NCIS episodes

  • 100 best NCIS episodes

    In the early 2000s, the success of multiple versions of “CSI” and “Law & Order” proved that TV audiences were hungry for procedural shows that tackled a new crime every week. “JAG” on CBS couldn’t quite accomplish what its competitors could, but in 2003 it launched a spin-off: “NCIS,” a show about special agents in the Naval Criminal Investigative Service investigating crimes in the Navy and Marines. When the show first premiered, its viewership barely cracked into the top 30 in that week’s most-watched TV shows. Fifteen years later, NCIS is the fifth most popular show on TV, averaging close to 17 million viewers per episode.

    To honor its reign as the second-longest running drama on television (Law & Order: SVU holds the top spot), Stacker put together this list of the 100 best NCIS episodes so far. IMDb user ratings helped narrow the show’s more than 350 episodes down to the top 100. Any episodes with identical ratings were ranked in order of which one had more total votes. Read on to see where your favorite episode ranks!

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  • #100. Rekindled

    Season 9, Episode 21
    Air date: April 17, 2012
    IMDb rating: 8.2

    When a fire broke out in a Baltimore warehouse, NCIS teamed up with an arson investigator from the Baltimore Fire Department to figure out why a stack of secret Navy documents was found next to a corpse. The case had ties to the mysterious Watcher Fleet and hinted that more trouble was to come.  

  • #99. Patriot Down

    Season 7, Episode 23
    Air date: May 18, 2010
    IMDb rating: 8.2

    The burned body of a former NCIS agent was found on a beach, sending Gibbs (Mark Harmon) to Mexico to investigate a colonel gone rogue. During the investigation, Gibbs was kidnapped by what he thought was one of the colonel’s henchmen, but he later discovered an even more sinister plot at play.

  • #98. Gone

    Season 10, Episode 8
    Air date: November 27, 2012
    IMDb rating: 8.2

    NCIS took on human trafficking in this episode about an attempted kidnapping that resulted in the death of a Naval officer. Two girls were the targets of the kidnapping, but only one was taken, and Gibbs and his team were able to stop the kidnapped girl from being sold into sexual slavery just in time.

  • #97. The Namesake

    Season 10, Episode 5
    Air date: October 30, 2012
    IMDb rating: 8.2

    Just three episodes before “Gone,” “The Namesake” started with the murder of a Naval petty officer who owned a fancy sports car well beyond his means. The investigation led Gibbs to a pawn shop where he found a Medal of Honor, which had belonged to a close friend of his father and the man for whom he was named and was illegally up for sale. While Gibbs discovered more about his personal history, the team traced the murder to a college student who mistakenly thought the petty officer was the man who stole his billion-dollar idea.  

  • #96. Lost & Found

    Season 5, Episode 9
    Air date: November 20, 2007
    IMDb rating: 8.2

    In this Season 5 episode, a group of Boy Scout-esque “Youth Rangers” visited NCIS Headquarters, and McGee (Sean Murray) discovered that one of the boys in the group was actually a missing person. The team searched for the boy’s father and discovered that he was wanted for murder.

  • #95. Power Down

    Season 7, Episode 8
    Air date: November 17, 2009
    IMDb rating: 8.2

    There was big trouble in D.C. when the power grid for the entire city went down. When the NCIS team discovered a dead USO worker, they had to track down the killer the old-fashioned way, without electricity. Ultimately, the deceased entertainer turned out to be an undercover NSA agent who had access to some highly coveted technology.

  • #94. Internal Affairs

    Season 5, Episode 14
    Air date: April 22, 2008
    IMDb rating: 8.2

    The tables were turned when NCIS was the target of an FBI investigation into the death of La Grenouille, which was a major storyline in Season 4. Gibbs led NCIS in a private investigation to uncover the real murderer and exonerate NCIS Director Jenny Shepard (Lauren Holly), although the episode ended with all signs pointing to Shepard as the true killer.

  • #93. Enemies Foreign

    Season 8, Episode 8
    Air date: November 16, 2010
    IMDb rating: 8.2

    The first installment in a two-episode storyline, “Enemies Foreign” delved further into the relationship between Ziva David (Cote de Pablo) and her father, Eli David (Michael Nouri), the head of Israel’s intelligence service, Mossad. The NCIS team was charged with protecting Eli David from Palestinian terrorists while he was in town for a conference.

  • #92. Gut Check

    Season 11, Episode 9
    Air date: November 19, 2013
    IMDb rating: 8.2

    When a covert listening device was found in a pen carried by the secretary of the Navy, NCIS went into overdrive to track down the source. The owner of the bug demanded $10 million as a ransom to return the info he obtained through the pen, but NCIS was able to find him thanks to NSA analyst Ellie Bishop (Emily Wickersham), who was offered a joint duty assignment with NCIS (and a recurring role on the show).


  • #91. Housekeeping

    Season 9, Episode 12
    Air date: January 3, 2012
    IMDb rating: 8.2

    EJ Barrett (Sarah Jane Morris) returned to NCIS in “Housekeeping,” a story full of intrigue and double-crossing. Agent Casey Stratton (Scott Wolf) had been after Barrett, and NCIS was able to trap him after discovering that he was actually a secret black ops agent in cahoots with other governmental figures. Romantic storylines also took center stage when Ziva had to decide between the affections of Tony and Ray.

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