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You Might Not Realize How Many NCIS Plotlines Were Abandoned

"NCIS" has achieved something very few shows in the history of television have even come close to accomplishing: the show has stayed on the air and retained a large viewership for nearly two decades. In fact, according to The Hollywood Reporter, the "NCIS" episode that aired October 4, 2021, was the most-watched show of the night, garnering nearly 7.5 million viewers. That's the kind of rarified air that, currently, is only breathed by the likes of "Law & Order: SVU," which is now in its 23rd season, and "Survivor," which has been on the air for 21 years, yet still drew over 6 million viewers for its recent Season 41 debut, per Deadline.

But while "NCIS" fans have remained steadfast over the course of 19 seasons, that hasn't stopped some from calling out what they see as a decline in the series' quality — or from picking up on other signs that a show might be getting long in the tooth. So while some fans have taken to keeping track of the series' occasional continuity errors, others are now pointing out myriad other oversights. Specifically, with over 400 episodes worth of Naval crimes covered, "NCIS" has developed so many new stories that some of them have simply gotten lost along the way.

Indeed, it's perhaps inevitable that such a prolific series would lose track of some of its own plots. But that doesn't mean the dropped plots sit well with fans, who have taken to Reddit to catalog the history of the CBS hit's dangling plot threads.

NCIS fans have tracked a number of storylines they believe were abandoned

Redditor u/DarthMaulOpress got the ball rolling, simply asking, "What's a storyline or plot that seems to have been abandoned in NCIS?" After a friendly spoiler warning, the original poster continued, "I think the Leon Vance is actually Tyler Owens plot/theory was worth exploring but they never did." The short post opened a floodgate of responses, with the most upvoted coming from u/ClownfishSoup, who pointed out, "You never hear about McGee's sister or his dog anymore. Or his writing career, which made him enough money to buy a Porsche and some other really nice things. Why would he give that up?" (To be fair, u/ellieacd responded, "Well, he's married and has toddler twins and a demanding career. How much time do you think he has to write?")

But that wasn't the only abandoned storyline, according to fans. "Ellie being a hot shot NSA agent with hacking skills that were almost never used," posted u/Exit-Alternative. "The women who collected Gibbs in the Merc at the end of episodes in S1," noted u/Tubbynezbit, adding, "I know it looks like one of his ex wife's, but is it ever mentioned?" Meanwhile, u/realclowntime wondered, "Jasper Shepherd ... Is he alive or not?"

But with so many seasons and stories to monitor, it's also possible that some have actually been resolved, or were never meant to be. "A lot of things on this thread are not abandoned plots but things intentionally left without an answer," wrote u/ChristmassMoose, to which u/Fickle-Negotiation76 added, "Or they have an answer and someone just missed it lol." Hmm, "NCIS" fans missing a small detail? Sounds unlikely, but stranger things have happened during the show's 19 years.