998 voters

The Greatest Guest Stars on NCIS, Ranked

Updated June 14, 2019 6.3k votes 998 voters 133.4k views26 items

NCIS characters have a lot of explaining to do. Week after week, they must delve into all kinds of military crime. Who would have thought there’d be this much sleuthing to do, and that audiences would love it so much. With a show that consistently turns in top ratings, you can be sure that the NCIS guest stars roster is going to be impressive. With legends, veteran character actors, and stars on the rise, the NCIS TV show guests include some impressive names.  

From a pre-Little Miss Sunshine Abigail Breslin acting her guts out as a young kidnap victim helping the NCIS team catch her captor, to a young and unknown Zac Efron trying to explain himself, many future stars got their starts on the popular CBS military crime drama series.  

But it's not just the up and coming in the hot seat. Titans from the stage and screen have had to face the NCIS squad. Beloved actor Charles Durning gets caught up in murder; Hal Holbrook tries and fails to get away with murder; Gena Rowlands, Lily Tomlin, and Colin Hanks can all claim their spot as NCIS characters, getting caught up in the intrigue. From Bob Newhart to Dean Norris, you never know who’s going to pop up with NCIS cameos and get grilled by Gibbs. 

Who’s your favorite among the NCIS guest stars? Vote them to the top and "let’s solve this thing, shall we?"
  • Role on NCIS: Sandy Watson 
    Episode: “See No Evil”  
    Breslin’s 2004 episode had the young actor portraying a blind nine-year-old girl who was abducted, along with her mother. Following her release she helps the NCIS team find her mom.
    Where You’ve Seen Her Before:  
    Before she dazzled audiences with her performance in Little Miss Sunshine (which she did before her appearance on NCIS), Breslin appeared in M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs as Bo. She has also starred in Zombieland, Ender’s Game, Maggie, and Scream Queens.
    • Age: 25
    • Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States of America
    Great guest star?

    More Abigail Breslin 

    #1532 of 1,883 The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History#235 of 253 The Best American Actresses Working Today#80 of 191 The Greatest Child Stars Who Are Still Acting

  • Photo: Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY
    Role on NCIS: Ernie Yost  
    Episode: “Call of Silence”  
    Medal of Honor recipient and WWII Marine vet Yost confesses to a murder 60 years prior. After his wife dies, Ernie begins to consider the past and believes that he killed his friend and fellow Marine Corportal Wade Kean.  
    Where You’ve Seen Him Before:  
    Where have you not seen Durning? The legendary actor worked right up until his death in 2012 and appeared in an impressive list of projects. He’s played Michael Gavin on Rescue Me, Father Hubley on Everybody Loves Raymond, Dr. Elldridge on Evening Shade, Waring Hudsucker in The Hudsucker Proxy, Les in Tootsie, Lt. Synder in The Sting, Moretti in Dog Day Afternoon, and Pappy O’Daniel in O Brother, Where Art Thou?
    • Age: Dec. at 89 (1923-2012)
    • Birthplace: Highland Falls, New York, USA
    • Alternative Name: Charles Durnham
    Great guest star?

    More Charles Durning 

    #345 of 1,017 The Best Actors In Film History#14 of 15 15 Celebrities Who Actually Fought In Battles#76 of 110 Celebrities Who Were In The Military

  • Photo: flickr / CC0
    Role on NCIS: Eli David  
    Episodes: “Shabbat Shalom,” “Extreme Prejudice,” “Enemies Domestic,” “Enemies Foreign,” “Good Cop, Bad Cop,” “Aliyah,” and “Last Man Standing”  
    Nouri’s Eli David was the director of the Israeli Moussad as well as the father of Cote de Pablo’s Ziva David and Rudolph Martin’s Ari Haswari. Eli David’s plan to infiltrate Al Qaeda through marriage backfired big time to say the least. Despite his grand manipulation, David loses control of his children.  
    Where You’ve Seen Him Before: 
    Damages fans will know him as Phil Grey. Army Wives viewers remember him as General Ludwig, and if you want to go way back in pop culture time, he was the hunky Nick Hurley in Flashdance.
    • Age: 75
    • Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States of America
    Great guest star?
  • Role on NCIS: Dr. Samantha Ryan  
    Episodes: “Till Death Do Us Part,” “Up in Smoke,” “The Missionary Position,” “The Tell,” and “Psych Out”  

    Curtis played Gibbs's love interest until she had to leave to protect herself and her son. Her five episode run was a hit with fans, and she got an opportunity to work with her Freaky Friday co-star, Mark Harmon, again.  

    Where You’ve Seen Her Before: 
    As the daughter of the original Psycho’s Janet Leigh and Some Like It Hot’s Tony Curtis, she got her start in the very first Halloween film in 1978.

    However, one of her most famous roles was Wanda Gershwitz in A Fish Called Wanda alongside Kevin Kline, Michael Palin, and John Cleese. She was also excellent as Helen Tasker in True Lies and Ophelia in Trading Places. She played Joan Day on New Girl for a few seasons, and was the only bright light of Ryan Murphy’s Scream Queens as Dean Munsch. She’s been married to writer, director, and producer Christopher Guest since 1984.
    • Age: 62
    • Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, USA
    Great guest star?

    More Jamie Lee Curtis 

    The Ups And Downs Of Jamie Lee Curtis's Relationship With Her Mother, Janet Leigh#46 of 349 The Best Actresses In Film History#1679 of 2,753 The Most Influential People of All Time