NCIS: Red is the spin-off from CBS that never got off the ground

NCIS Red Cast
The NCIS: Red cast never got a shot to lead their own show. Pic credit: CBS

NCIS: Red was an attempt at a new spin-off for the franchise that CBS tried to get off the ground in spring 2013.

This new NCIS spin-off got a backdoor pilot, with the new cast of characters introduced during NCIS: Los Angels Season 4, Episode 18.

The NCIS Red Team is a mobile unit that operates out of a command center and travels around to solve cases. For anyone who has watched FBI: Most Wanted, that is basically the premise that NCIS: Red was trying to pull off. The team itself still exists in the world of NCIS, but it didn’t get the full spin-off show that was expected.

Over two episodes, the NCIS: LA team worked with the NCIS Red Team to solve a case, adding a whole lot of new characters to the fold. CBS either didn’t like how the episodes worked or simply didn’t think a spin-off like this would work, which led to NCIS: Red getting canceled before it even became its own show.

Who was on the NCIS Red Team?

A lot of recognizable actors and actresses were slated to appear on the new show and made their debuts on NCIS: LA. That included John Corbett (Northan Exposure and Sex and the City), Kim Raver (from 24 and now on Grey’s Anatomy), Scott Grimes (long time actor on ER), Edwin Hodge (he went on to play Rick Newhouse on Chicago Fire), Gillian Alexy (Damages and Outsiders), and Kenneth Mitchell (Jericho and Star Trek: Discovery).

Later, Alexy would pop up on NCIS: New Orleans as Savannah Kelly on three episodes of the show.

For newer NCIS fans, the two NCIS: LA episodes that focused on the Red Team are well worth going back to watch. They were called Red: Part One (Season 4, Episode 18) and Red: Part Two (Season 4, Episode 19).

NCIS: New Orleans got greenlighted instead of Red Team

After NCIS: Red got scrapped, work was done to put together another NCIS spin-off – which led to NCIS: New Orleans getting a spot in primetime. The New Orleans-based show aired late on Tuesday nights but ended up getting moved to Sundays when CBS started up FBI: Most Wanted.

NCIS: New Orleans has now been canceled by CBS, but there are reports of a new spin-off taking place in Hawaii soon. The new show could get started as early as the fall of 2021, giving CBS another team in the world of NCIS to focus on.

As for the NCIS Red Team, they are presumably still active somewhere in the country, and it’s possible that they could get referenced again on one of the other shows down the road.

NCIS: Los Angeles airs Sundays at 9/8c on CBS.