But what exactly are so many Americans watching—and rooting for—when they tune in for these TV shows? A closer look reveals that both series are uncomfortably akin to a cheering section for the NSA: The shows depict a world in which terrorists planning mass slaughter are under every bed, in which viewers root for the good-looking, wisecracking agents to smash down doors without warrants; in which super-advanced electronic surveillance is used exclusively to protect the public. In the NCIS version of reality, we’ll all die unless powerful government agencies treat the United States Constitution like a big joke.
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Next season there will be a third iteration, which ones hopes will be titled NCIS: Spinoff. As Quartz’s Jason Lynch notes, viewers love these formulaic procedurals—while critics ignore them.
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