Actress Jennifer Esposito will star on CBS's continually high-rated 'NCIS'

Esposito will appear on the season premiere of the hit CBS show, which will return this September. 'NCIS' has also been the inspiration for such spin-offs as 'NCIS: New Orleans' and 'NCIS: Los Angeles.'

John P. Filo/CBS
Jennifer Esposito appears on 'Blue Bloods.'

Actress Jennifer Esposito will be starring on the massively successful CBS show “NCIS” and will appear in the season premiere this September.

Ms. Esposito, who has previously starred on the CBS program “Blue Bloods” as well as appearing on the Showtime program, “The Affair,” will portray an agent named Alex Quinn who has become a teacher at the Law Enforcement Training Center.

The season premiere, which will debut Esposito’s character and will air on Sept. 20, will kick off the program’s fourteenth season.

It was also previously announced that Wilmer Valderrama of “That ‘70s Show” will be joining “NCIS” as a new character.

“NCIS” continues to be a ratings powerhouse for network CBS, finishing the 2015-2016 TV season as the third-most-watched TV program in total viewers, after NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” and fellow CBS program “The Big Bang Theory.” “NCIS” has also been the inspiration for multiple spin-offs, “NCIS: Los Angeles” and “NCIS: New Orleans,” the latter of which also does particularly well in the ratings (“Orleans” came in sixth for total viewers for the 2015-2016 TV season).

“NCIS” did not receive good reviews from critics when it debuted in 2003. Yet clearly the appeal is there for many, many viewers, who keep the show near the top of the broadcast TV rankings year after year. 

Verne Gay of Newsweek writes of the program, “To dismiss ‘NCIS’ – as critics and the Hollywood establishment have done for years – is to also dismiss its preoccupations, and those have been the preoccupations of much of the country over the same time span: Intractable, brutal foreign wars, national security, the war on terror and the grinding emotional and financial cost of these wars on soldiers and families.”

And Cecilia Kang of The Washington Post writes, “CBS launched ‘NCIS’ in September 2003 with a simple formula: By the end of each episode, an investigation would be solved, and its diverse cast would provide light-hearted humor along the way … A fan of AMC’s ‘Breaking Bad’ has to watch dozens of episodes to finally figure out what happens to Walter White, but an ‘NCIS’ fan can dip in and out of the show at will. It’s a convenience that appeals to many fans – perfect to watch while on the treadmill or while folding laundry.”

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