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The Pulp Fiction References You Probably Forgot About On NCIS

Within the past few decades especially, the crime drama has risen through the ranks to become a television favorite among a large subset of viewers. The likes of "Law & Order" and "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" stand as some of the genre's titans, accompanied by the long-running CBS classic "NCIS." Since 2003, this particular police procedural has graced small screens across the globe, telling tales of heinous criminal cases and chronicling the individuals tasked with studying them at the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. Suffice to say, this approach has found great success, and then some.

As is the case with the majority of crime shows, "NCIS" takes itself and its real world-based subject matter very seriously. Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon) is willing to go above and beyond the call of duty in the pursuit of justice, maintaining a stern demeanor all the while. However, even this hard-boiled investigator has cracked a smile on a handful of occasions. In contrast to the grim nature of the series, most "NCIS" episodes include moments of levity here and there, typically manifesting themselves as throwaway lines or even entire B-plots that help end dire episodes on a lighter, cheerier note.

In that same vein, "NCIS" doesn't shy away from making references to other pieces of pop culture. Take, for instance, the nods to director Quentin Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction" that slipped their way into an installment from some time ago that you likely forgot all about.

NCIS went for a direct approach with its Pulp Fiction tributes

"NCIS" gave "Pulp Fiction" a couple of shout-outs throughout episode 17 of Season 3, titled "Ravenous." Ziva David (Cote de Pablo) first pointed out that Jackrabbit Slim's – a store located in Shenandoah National Park — was a reference to the same restaurant Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman) stopped at during their night out in the 1994 film. As one could imagine, the resident film and TV expert of the NCIS, Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly), took immediate notice of his teammate's big screen knowledge and commended her for pointing that out.

The second "Pulp Fiction" reference arrived toward the end of "Ravenous," this time during an interaction between Abby Sciuto (Pauley Perrette) and Jethro Gibbs. She opens a box containing a birthday gift from him, revealing a soft glow from the inside. "This is so 'Pulp Fiction,'" remarked Gibbs, drawing a comparison between Abby's gift and the ominous glowing briefcase from the aforementioned film. Every time Marsellus Wallace's (Ving Rhames) enigmatic suitcase was opened, the audience wasn't shown its contents, aside from the gold light emanating from it. To this day, we have no idea what it actually contained, resulting in rampant speculation over the years.

The tendency of "NCIS" to toss in a cultural reference here and there goes a long way in making the show feel grounded and connected to the real world. After all, who hasn't made a reference to "Pulp Fiction" in their day-to-day life by now?