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What Do "Kojak" And "NCIS" Have In Common?

22 Jan 2010
Posted by Stan Collender

You really have to ask whether this is the best the network television can do.

Although it's been on for a while and is one of the top-rated prime-time shows on network television, I've only recently begun to watch "NCIS," the CBS police drama that stars Mark Harmon.  I may have started to watch because "Law and Order" reruns seem to have run their course (Has anyone seen an episode with Michael Moriarty lately?) or because the friends my Beautiful and Talented Wife (The BTW) and I visited over Thanksgiving were devoted to it.

But regardless of the reason, and even though I started watching only recently, whenever I have watched "NCIS" there has always been something almost eerily familiar and deja vu-like about the show.

It finally hit me last night: "NCIS" is the same show as "Kojak," the police drama that aired on CBS in the 1970s with Telly Savalas as the lead character.

The trigger was simple.  In the episode I watched last night, Special Agent Gibbs (Harmon) walked into the office where he and his team work and yelled "McGee, you're with me" in almost exactly the same way that Lt. Kojak used to walk into the squad room from his office and yell "Crocker" or "Stavros."  Take away the U.S. Navy cover from "NCIS" and reduce the production values to what they were in the 1970s and it's basically the same show I watched three decades ago.

The two big differences: Mark Harmon appears to have a full head of hair and doesn't eat lollypops.

You really have to wonder whether CBS is recycling scripts from Kojak to reduce costs and just assuming no one will notice.



I've been a great fan of NCIS since it first aired and remember Kojak well. But I don't see the resemblance at all. The key to NCIS is the way the junior officers bicker among themselves like a family with Harmon as the father figure to whom they all look for approval. I don't remember Telly Savalas playing that role.

Kojak never had...

Kojak didn't have the pluckiest and cutest lab tech ever invented.

pluckiest and cutest

Abby is a skank, and hardly cute!


The fact that the main characters are law enforcement officers who yell at their underlings in "almost exactly the same way" is no justification for saying that the two series are "basically the same show".

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