About to enter its 10th season, NCIS continues to be a hit with viewers, who’ve made this military crime procedural one of TV’s consistently highest-rated series for nearly a decade. But why? What keeps fans coming back to this crime-of-the-week show when there are so many others out there? In honour of its 10th season, here are 10 things NCIS fans love about the show.

 

Abby

NCIS may not have invented the quirky tech-geek sidekick that seems to be part of every procedural crime drama, but it certainly perfected it with the character of Abby Sciuto (Pauly Perrette, who made headlines last year by earning the year’s highest Q rating, which essentially means she is America’s most popular TV star). From her goth-girl wardrobe to her addiction to a caffeine-loaded slushie called Caf-Pow, Abby is clearly a character viewers enjoy spending time with.

 

Gibbs’ basement boat

Every once in awhile, we see NCIS leader Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon) building a boat — in his basement. It’s never really been explained why, or how he expects to get it out of there — a mystery that will hopefully someday be revealed.

 

DeNozzo and his dad

NCIS fans love movie-obsessed Special Agent Tony DiNozzo, but saw a whole new dimension to his character when they met his con-man dad, Anthony DiNozzo Sr. (Robert Wagner), who’s become a recurring guest star.

 

Ducky: everybody’s grandpa

As the team’s wise old sage, coroner Donald “Ducky” Mallard (David McCallum) always knows the right thing to say in times of crisis. It looked like Ducky may have bought the farm last season, but NCIS fans know you can never keep a good man down.

 

Ziva-isms

Another running bit has been the scrambled syntax of Israeli import Ziva David (Coté de Pablo), who originally showed up as a Mossad agent for whom English was a second language.

 

The Gibbs head slap

If NCIS has proven anything over the past nine seasons, it’s the infinite entertainment value of smacking someone on the back of the head.

 

Tiva

Clearly, there’s some serious sexual tension between Tony and Ziva, but they remain a non-couple despite the flirting, the bickering and the furtive glances. Nevertheless, NCIS fans have given them their own Brangelina-style nickname.

 

DiNozzo’s movie quotes

Tony’s obsession with movies and penchant for inserting quotes from films into conversation has become one of the show’s more enduring bits.

 

McGee’s nicknames

DiNozzo loves giving Tim McGee (Sean Murray) nicknames, and it’s become an NCIS trademark. There have been dozens over the years, from McGeek to McZero to Tiny Tim to Prince of Darkness to my personal favourite, Mr. Mildly-Neurotic Introvert with a Highly Sensitive Ego.

 

Bert the farting hippo

Abby’s signature stuffed animal — did you know you can actually buy one?

The new season of NCIS premieres Tuesday, September 25 on Global and CBS