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‘NCIS’ Filming Location Details

February 2, 2020
4 min read

Whether you love them or would be more than glad to see the back of them, there’s no denying that police procedural shows are one of the most popular genres on TV, and one such show at the top of the game is CBS’ ‘NCIS’. After first debuting in September 2003, ‘NCIS’ is now the second longest running scripted, non animated U.S primetime TV series currently on the air; and it is not slowing down anytime soon either, with even the show’s sixteenth season managing to draw in nearly sixteen million viewers on average per episode.

‘NCIS’ stars American actor Mark Harmon as Leroy Jethro Gibbs, lead investigator of the Major Case Response Team (MCRT), an elite arm of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. The Washington DC based unit is responsible for investigating all major criminal offenses within the United States Department of Navy.

Besides Gibbs himself, other members of the MCRT include Caitlin Todd (played by Sasha Alexander), Anthony DiNozzo (played by Michael Weatherly), Timothy McGee (played by Sean Murray), Ziva David (played by Cote De Pablo), Nicholas Torres (played by Wilmer Valderrama), Alexandra Quinn (played by Jennifer Esposito) and Eleanor Bishop (played by Emily Wickersham).

If you are wondering where NCIS is filmed, read on to find out everything we know.

NCIS Filming Locations

The story line in ‘NCIS’ frequently has the team travel all over the United States of America and the world. However, the majority of the action is centered around Washington DC, where the team has its headquarters and its labs. The show has been widely lauded for its realistic depiction of the real world NCIS investigative unit, and this extends to the location of the organization’s real life headquarters, which is based in the Russell Knox building on the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Virginia.

However, despite the show being set primarily in the Washington area, the actual filming is done largely on location across various venues in Southern California. The Southern California region is a very popular location for numerous movies and TV shows, owing to the diversity of its topography and landscapes. This allows it to masquerade as any number of different regions with different vistas including mountains, deserts, forests, frigid, etc. A number of the interior scenes are filmed on set at the studio in Santa Clarita, California.

Valencia Studios, Santa Clarita, California

The majority of the interior scenes depicted in ‘NCIS’ are filmed in a set at Valencia Studios in Santa Clarita, California.This includes most of the laboratory scenes as well as those in the headquarters. The real world location of the NCIS headquarters that is recreated at Valencia Studios is in Quantico, Virginia, at the Russell Knox building on the Marine Corps base.

Actor Wilmer Valderrama, who plays Nicholas Torres on the show, posted these pictures on his Instagram account:

Various Locations Across Southern California

A large proportion of the exterior shots in ‘NCIS’ are filmed across various locations in the southern part of California. Some of the notable locations include the College of the Canyons, the Long Beach Polytechnic High School, Van Nuys Airport, Occidental College and more.

Check out his picture of Mark Harmon and Emilly Wickersham on the day of an exterior shoot posted by a fan on Twitter:

Louisiana

‘NCIS’ is a hugely popular franchise with a number of spin off shows including ‘NCIS: New Orleans’ and NCIS: Los Angeles’. These shows have a long standing tradition of filming crossover episodes, and one such crossover involves the team of ‘NCIS’ going all the way to Louisiana to link up with the ‘NCIS: New Orleans’ gang. The filming for these episodes was largely done on set and on location in the state of Louisiana itself.

Washington DC

For Season 13, ‘NCIS’ also filmed a few scenes on location at the actual White House at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. This is not something many TV shows have managed to do, and is a testament to the widespread popularity and appeal of ‘NCIS’.

Check out this picture of show star Mark Harmon with the then First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama posted by the official NCIS Twitter account:

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