In the closing seconds of tonight’s premiere, there was a title card dedicating the episode to David Bellisario, who we know tragically passed away over the summer at the age of 63 following a battle with brain cancer. David was the son of legendary television producer Donald P. Bellisario, the man who created the entire NCIS franchise. David worked across both the flagship NCIS as well as NCIS: Los Angeles as a producer, and helped oversaw both of the series as they continued to be among the biggest hits on television. He is also the stepbrother of NCIS star Sean Murray, and the sibling of former NCIS guest star Troian Bellisario, who went on to find further fame on the series Pretty Little Liars.
The title card referred to David Bellisario as a friend and colleague, and also praised him for both his “gentleness” and “wisdom.” We have come to learn over the years that the NCIS franchise is a very tight-knit family, with a number of the cast and crew having relationships that last over a decade.
Title cards are one of the best ways to honored someone that meant so much to the cast and crew of the show. They will live on in the years that follow its initial air date, and allow viewers a chance to learn about them — which may lead to them seeking out more information on their own. They are also often the last thing a viewer will see and remember coming out of an episode, which allows a moment for reflection for the life that was lost.
Beyond the NCIS franchise, some of David Bellisario’s credits include JAG (which preceded NCIS and is set in the same universe), Quantum Leap, and the original Magnum PI with Tom Selleck.
Our thoughts go out to the family and friends of David Bellisario during what must continue to be a difficult time. (Photo: CBS.)