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The NCIS Travel Time Plothole Fans Seem To Ignore

With 18 seasons in the books and a 19th on the way, hit procedural "NCIS" is still going strong. The immensely popular CBS series remains one of the most-watched shows on television. In fact, in its 10th season, it even surpassed "Sunday Night Football" and "American Idol" to become the highest-rated broadcast on network TV, according to TV By the Numbers and it's never left the list of the top three most watched shows since that time.

Like many crime procedurals, "NCIS" is based on reality, drawing inspiration from the real-life NCIS, part of the United States Military's Department of the Navy. However, also like most crime procedurals, the show takes creative liberties with its stories, making them more exciting for eager audiences. The "NCIS" writers have to craft their crime-solving to fit in the standard 42-minute broadcast runtime, after all. This means sometimes manipulating the actual distance between geographic locations — and fans have noticed. 

The team takes no time at all to drive places

Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs and his team are based out of the Naval offices in Washington, D.C. However, their pursuits often take them out in the field. Frequently, the team end up in places like Norfolk and Virginia Beach. In reality, these locations are about a four-hour drive from the capital, yet in the show, they frequently arrive on the scene in less than half an hour. No matter how fast you're going, it's impossible to make that trip in such a short time. We can let the inconsistency slide; we'd rather see the agents investigating a crime than sitting in traffic, after all.

So there are some discrepancies as a result of the limitations of television, but "NCIS" does seem to care about portraying the government agency authentically. In an interview with the USO, real-life NCIS communications director MaryAnn Cummings spoke about the show's portrayal of the organization, saying the real NCIS "have a vested interest in making sure the television show maintains a certain credibility and a certain accuracy when [they] can." 

We love learning about this less well known government agency, even if it is through the show's fictionalized version — and we'll always wish our car trips were as fast as the "NCIS" team's.