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Why Terrorist Ari Haswari Doesn't Make A Realistic Villain For Gibbs' Team On NCIS

There have been a lot of nefarious terrorists and bad guys on "NCIS" over the years, but Ari Haswari (Rudolf Martin) has to be the villain with the greatest impact on the show's characters. In fact, a Looper poll of "NCIS" fans saw him come top in a ranking of the CBS show's "worst" villains.

He wasn't just a rogue terrorist — Haswari was also Special Agent Jethro Gibbs' (Mark Harmon) sworn enemy. An intelligent, charming, but violent man, the Mossad agent turned Al-Qaeda leader first infiltrates the NCIS morgue before mounting a campaign against Gibbs and other agents. He even murders Special Agent Caitlin "Kate" Todd (Sasha Alexander) in the shocking Season 2 finale.

Haswari is ultimately killed by his half-sister, Mossad officer Ziva David (Cote de Pablo), though she's haunted by her actions afterward. Yet, despite his infamy with "NCIS" viewers, the terrorist character isn't exactly the show's most realistic enemy. Here's why.

There's much more effort involved in capturing real terrorists

"NCIS" debuted in 2003 after the 9/11 attacks, at a point where American television was heavily focused on terrorist enemies and "grisly and morally murky" heroes, said The Washington Post Magazine. Ari Haswari is the kind of unambiguous, threatening baddie who could have appeared on "24" around the same time. However, the real NCIS would probably handle this kind of menace very differently.

On the show, the main NCIS agents are largely dealing with Haswari all alone. The real NCIS agency does handle counter-terrorism, but it also regularly teams up with other law enforcement agencies and security teams, per its official website. Taking down a figure like Haswari would require years of work and a lot more manpower than a small team could handle. The character is killed off fairly quickly in Season 3, despite the fact that his capture alone would have taken a lot of effort on the part of NCIS and several other agencies.

In the end, no one should expect a CBS procedural to be rigorously accurate. But it's still important to know the difference between fact and the glamorous fiction of "NCIS."