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The Real Reason Some Fans Believe NCIS Has Gone Downhill

Nearly two decades in, "NCIS" continues to be a powerhouse when it comes to network TV viewership. The series' recent Season 19 debut was the most-watched show on TV the night it aired, according to Variety, and the ratings show no sign of slowing down, even as star Mark Harmon publicly considers exiting the Naval drama. The flagship series also just launched a new spin-off, "NCIS: Hawai'i," the fifth show in a line that began with the military courtroom drama "JAG," which birthed the "NCIS" franchise.

But no matter how strong "NCIS" remains in the ratings, fans know there's a difference between the number of people watching and the quality of the content. Indeed, as with any long-running show, the fan debate over whether or not "NCIS" has jumped the shark continues to flare up. Now, another Reddit thread has surfaced, continuing the argument and allowing fans to sound off on their disappointment with what some view as the show's decline over the past few seasons.

The topic's original poster started out fearing they were perhaps alone in their opinion. "I guess I'm the only one who thinks that NCIS has become unwatchable," u/aftsdwol wrote. "Weak plot lines, touchy-feelie nonsense. I'd never watch it anymore except that my wife still likes it (Gibbs?)." But while the Redditor may be out of sync with his wife's continued fandom (and what appears to be her crush on Harmon's character, Leroy Jethro Gibbs), it turns out there are plenty of fellow fans convinced that "NCIS" has taken a turn for the worse.

Fans have many ideas about why "NCIS" declined, but they're still watching

"You are not alone! But I keep watching," responded u/GuinnessLove72. "I think I keep hoping 'this episode' will be better." But why has the show gone downhill? Fans offered a myriad of opinions. "Once they lost Ziva and Tony the show started its slow decline into mediocrity," posted u/NSGACT1985, adding, "It got worse with the addition of Torres." For u/Sodola321, it was the loss of other characters that broke the show: "I have tolerated it since Ducky is not on all the time and Abby is gone ... I keep thinking if they retired the series I wouldn't be upset."

"I absolutely agree," posted u/GirlNinja553. "I can barely watch it, it's like torture. I only watch it cos it used to be amazing and I guess I feel obligated to. I dislike the new characters, and how they made all of the old ones like McGee and Gibbs bland, and, like you said, weak plot lines and touchy-feely nonsense." U/ab0701 also agreed, reasoning, "The show used to do incredible work mirroring old plotlines to new ones, but now it just feels contrived and unoriginal. The new characters lack depth."

Still, none of the fans commenting in the thread were ready to give up on their favorite show just yet, echoing the hope that the next episode will return "NCIS" to its former glory. "The show isn't the same," wrote u/Lily_Of_The_Valley10. "It lost its spark, but I invested so many years in it so I'm going to watch it to the end." Responded u/2120SoMichigan, "Agreeā€”but will stick it out to the end." So when will the end come? There's no word yet on whether "NCIS" will make it to Season 20.