'NCIS' Season 18 Cast Shakeup Shows the Series Is Still Fixing a Major CBS Problem

NCIS has been on television for almost two decades now, and over the years, the show has garnered a huge fan base. Viewers love tuning in each week to see the crime-solving squad on their latest adventures, and the cast gives an amazing performance in each episode.

As one of the most-loved police drama shows on television currently, NCIS got its start in 2003 when another television show, JAG, introduced the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. The show provides viewers with a great mix of humor, drama, and action, as they investigate issues such as espionage, murder, and terrorism, with crimes involving the Navy and Marine Corps.

Over the years, we have seen a number of memorable episodes, and fans will surely agree that it is quite difficult to narrow it down to one favorite. The cast is beyond phenomenal, with acting skills that are pretty much unmatched.

But that doesn’t mean the show is perfect. There was a glaring issue in the show’s casting. Now, the NCIS Season 18 cast shakeup shows the series is finally fixing the major problem. 

‘NCIS’ had little cast diversity

Although NCIS  is one of the highest-rated shows there is, there is not much diversity among the main cast leads. With actors and actresses that include Pauley Perrette, Sasha Alexander, and David McCallum, there really hasn’t been much ethnic variation. In fact, a 2016 USA Today “diversity report card” concluded that CBS fared the worst when it comes to inclusion and the network is routinely called out for its diversity problem.

For NCIS, one exception is for Cote de Pablo, the Chilean-born actor who played the role of Ziva David. Despite her background, the actress was white-passing, although her character was Israeli.

Fans of NCIS absolutely adored De Pablo’s time on the show and loved watching her bring the character of David to life. David, who was an invaluable liaison officer, was a staple on the show from 2005-2013, and fans were sad to see her go.

Without having de Pablo as a main cast member, the show was left with some much needed-diversity, with the departure of one of the best actresses leaving quite the void.

Wilmer Valderrama joined the cast

One of the best additions to the cast was when Wilmer Valderrama came on board in 2016, and fans were simply delighted. Valderrama is extremely talented with many acting and production credits under his belt.

Until joining the cast of NCIS, Valderrama was best known for his work on the popular sitcom That ’70’s Show, and his entrance as special agent Nick Torres was just what was needed. The actor is of Venezuelan and Colombian descent, and he added the perfect mix of ethnic variation to the main cast members of NCIS

In fact, Valderrama himself has spoken about the importance of diversity on television, calling it a “major responsibility.” 

He told Entertainment Tonight: “[People of color] have a major responsibility in this moment in time to continue to create images that our younger generation can look up and say, ‘Hey, that’s me or that looks like me.’ Now, more than ever, we need to inspire these roles.”

The season 18 cast shakeup is progress but not perfect

NCIS has such a large fan base, and it is hard to imagine that there are any problems at all. However, the one issue with the show is that up until now, there was a strong need for more Black representation, and it would appear that will soon change.

Rocky Carroll, who plays Director Vance, didn’t appear on the series until 2008 — five years after the show’s debut. Diona Reasonover’s Kasie Hines only joined the series in 2018.

The new season will introduce Victoria Platt as agent Ronnie Tyler, and it is exciting, to say the least. That said, she’s thus far just a guest star and not a lead. It’s progress, but not perfect.

So, who, exactly is Platt? Well, she is a New York City-born actor who is known for several guest-starring roles on shows such as Criminal Minds, and CSI: Miami.

Fans are certain that Platt will bring positive energy into her new role, giving the show and the main cast everything that is needed, and portraying her new character in the best way possible.

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