All 20 seasons of NCIS ranked worst to best

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VALENCIA, CA – SEPTEMBER 04: Actor Brian Dietzen (L) and Pauley Perrette attend the NCIS 100th Episode celebration at the Valencia Studios on September 4, 2007 in Valencia, California. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images)
VALENCIA, CA – SEPTEMBER 04: Actor Brian Dietzen (L) and Pauley Perrette attend the NCIS 100th Episode celebration at the Valencia Studios on September 4, 2007 in Valencia, California. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images) /

#4: NCIS season 5

This season is more impressive given the 2007 writers strike cost it a few episodes but it turned out to be one of the show’s best. Season 5 kicked off with Tony undercover romancing La Grenouille’s daughter which nearly led to him being killed. He did bounce back by the premiere’s ending with the terrorist leader dead and a mystery began on who shot him.

Things moved on, including a case involving one of Gibbs’ ex-wives and Ducky investigating a murder which had the then-real-life NCIS director making a cameo. The 100th episode, “Chimera,” was a creepy tour of a ship housing a nuclear weapon that led to dark secrets.

A fun episode had the team aiding a Boy Scout who was abducted as a kid and the funny touch that everyone except Tony recognized he’s a mini-DiNozzo. The episode “Super Soldier” was offbeat but balanced by Abby trying to prove a Navy dog didn’t really maul someone. Rocky Carroll debuted as Leon Vance investigating La Grenouille’s death, which set up the powerful two-parter ending in Jenny Shepherd’s death and the team seemingly disbanded. Thus, this was a huge season in many ways that set up some powerful arcs to come.

#3: NCIS season 7

The season opened with a rousing episode as the team raced to rescue a kidnapped Ziva. It showed the bond between her and Tony that would develop more over the series. That led to Ziva quitting Mossad to be a full-time NCIS agent with the fun of being treated as a “probie.”

There was also the introduction of popular recurring character CGIS Special Agent Abigail Borin (Diane Neal) whose banter with Gibbs was wonderful. Intriguing cases included a conspiracy nut claiming NCIS covered up a murder; Ziva accused of murder; and a creepy Halloween episode.

There was also good character bits, from Gibbs having a tense holiday with his dad to a team Thanksgiving. A wonderful episode had a power failure hitting Washington D.C., so the team had to go “old school” in their methods with Gibbs naturally right at home while Abby and Tony were having trouble.

The final episodes had a hunt for a serial killer taking Abby to Mexico where she worried about Gibbs having committed a murder of his own. That has the murder of a past agent and then a showdown of Gibbs and a deadly cartel with a cliffhanger that had fans going wild to cap off an exciting year that played with the formula.