How NCIS Makes Crime Pay at CBS, Over and Over Again

CSI: Miami, from Season 1 in 2002, with David Caruso and Kim Delaney Photograph by Everett Collection

The crime procedural has paid CBS dividends for decades, dating to the days of Murder, She Wrote, whose heroine kept stumbling on a shocking rate of homicide victims near her otherwise sleepy Maine village. Thirty years later, the very same network is preparing to crank out its third incarnation of NCIS, a series about military crime sleuths, in February. Will audiences ever tire of the tidy 60-minute police narrative?

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