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The Biggest Onscreen Mistakes In NCIS

They say the devil is in the details, and when you're talking about a TV show that has been on the air for nearly 20 years and over 400 episodes ... well, that's a lot of details. For CBS' crime drama NCIS, the elements of the series that matter the most are 1) the engaging cases solved by the agents each week, and 2) the characters, whom fans have come to love over the years. Yes, the details are important, but a few continuity errors or visual gaffes aren't enough to make fans think any less of the show. But that doesn't mean we're not going to talk about them.

Even the best made TV seriesĀ have their fair share of visible whoopsies. HBO's Game of Thrones was a marvel of big-budget TV-making, but the fantasy series couldn't catch every Starbucks cup and wonky wig that ended up making it into the final cut. There are plenty of mistakes that are hard to ignore inĀ Star Trek, even as well-loved as the show is. And in its many years on air, NCIS has also had a number of onscreen mistakes that made it into the show. Accidental boom mics and crew members lingering in the background of scenes are pretty commonplace blunders, so we're going to focus on highlighting the biggest visual mistakes we've seen on NCIS so far.

Jenny Shepard's magic hair

For its season 4 finale, NCIS pulled the cool trick of ending the episode in the middle of a case, and then having the action pick back up right where it left off when the show returned for its season 5 premiere. It's interesting storytelling (and hooks the audience into tuning in to the next season's premiere to find out what happens), but it presents a challenge for continuity. Even though the characters are still in the same places we left them, the actors who play them have been away for months, and a lot of physical changes can happen in that off time. While those small differences were easy to overlook in the days of appointment viewing, the age of binge-watching makes them harder to ignore.

Case in point: Jenny Shepard's (Lauren Holly) hair. The editors of NCIS Fan Wiki noticed that even though the amount of in-show time that passed between season 4's "Angel of Death" and season 5's "Bury Your Dead" is literal moments, Jenny seems to have added an inch or two to her hair. While the change might have fooled us if we hadn't seen the season 4 finale in months, when looking at the NCIS Director's hair in both episodes, it's clear that Holly grew it out a bit between seasons. It's especially noticeable when looking at her bangs, which almost come down over her eyes in the latter episode.

The murder victim who had Michael Weatherly's lines in his file

If you love a good network crime procedural, then you're likely aware that it takes a lot of time and effort to deliver viewers 20 to 24 episodes every season. And on a show like NCIS, the actors aren't only working long days, but they're also memorizing lines that are often filled with technical jargon. Thankfully, there are ways to make the daunting task just a little bit easier.

An eagle-eyed Reddit user spotted one such behind-the-scenes trick in the season 4 episode "In the Dark." The episode begins with the discovery of a murdered Navy petty officer. As Ducky (David McCallum) is performing an autopsy on the body, Tony (Michael Weatherly) marches into the examination room with the young man's file in hand. He passes it off to Gibbs (Mark Harmon), and as he does, we get a brief flash of the document itself.

The shot doesn't last long enough to really read anything on the paper, but if you pause, you'll notice that the section that's supposed to detail the officer's "Record of Service" actually has Weatherly's lines for the scene typed in it ... unless a notable moment from Officer Lynn's career was "Abby got a hit off the prints."

The repeating background actor

Being a background actor can probably sometimes feel like a thankless job. You rarely get credited for your work, but without your lived-in performance as Person Talking to Friend at Coffee Shop or Co-Worker Looking in File Cabinet, the world of the show wouldn't feel right. Reddit user u/m_1511 discovered one NCIS background actor who apparently did their job so well that the editors couldn't stop using their takes.

During a scene at the NCIS headquarters in the season 7 episode "Masquerade," Tony and Ziva are razzing McGee (Sean Murray) for wearing a tux and a headset in the office. As it turns out, he's about a decade ahead of the curve and attending a wedding over video chat. While the three of them huddle around the computer, a man in a distinct green shirt can be seen walking down the stairs behind them.

During the short scene, the camera occasionally cuts to the screen with the wedding on it. Every time it cuts back to the three agents, the man in the green shirt walks the same route down the same stairs in the exact same way. This happens three times before Gibbs (who has his own history of continuity errors) calls everyone to get ready for their next case and puts the poor man out of his Sisyphian misery.

It all just goes to show that even the biggest shows on TV miss something major every once in a while.