WASHINGTON D.C. (KDKA) — Once known only in military circles, all that changed when its namesake, “NCIS,” debuted on television.
The Naval Criminal Investigative Service has been around a lot longer than the TV version. They protect the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps personnel as well as assets all over the world.
We wanted to see how close Gibbs and company in Washington and Callen and crew in Los Angeles come to the real thing.
Bob Milie is a Mount Lebanon native. His dad was a Steelers trainer, so he grew up on the sidelines with the greats.
Kevin Dodds, from Delmont, remains a lifelong Steelers’ season ticket holder. Both are NCIS special agents who have worked all over the world.
Long before the show was conceived; NCIS agents Milie and Dodds were there when NCIS took the lead on investigations like the Marine Barracks bombing in Beirut, the attack on the USS Cole and the 9/11 attacks at the Pentagon and New York.
“We take great pride in what we did on that day,” says Milie.
“Agents with NCIS will work counter-terrorism, protective operations, general crimes, economic crimes, fraud,” says Dodds.
“’NCIS LA’ is very realistic of what we do,” Milie added.
But as you might expect there is a lot of creative license taken by the shows.
“They wrap everything up in an hour, that’s nice, but it’s not reality,” Dodds says.
KDKA’s John Shumway: “Is there Abby’s lab here in the building?”
Milie: “No. Actually, the U.S. Army Crime Lab handles evidence processing.”
Shumway: “What about Ducky?”
Milie: “We do not have a medical examiner.”
NCIS uses the medical examiner in the jurisdiction where the incident occurs, but crime scenes are in the job description.
“We have agents that do forensics, and they are excellent at their work,” says Milie.
The NCIS headquarters that you see so often on the show, that’s film of the old headquarters at the DC Naval Yard in 2003.
NCIS has since moved to an ultra-secure facility in Quantico, which it shares with the other military investigative agencies.
The creative license aside, the show fully understands the dedication of the real NCIS agents.
“We just appreciate the respect they give the real agency,” said Milie.
One major difference between the show and the real NCIS is that the show someday might come to an end, but as long as there is a U.S. Navy and a Marine Corps, the real NCIS will have work to do.