Here are the biggest “NCIS” guest stars you may have forgotten about

From Michelle Obama to Lily Tomlin, Drew Carey to Sheryl Crow, "NCIS" has had a wild variety of guests.

The world of NCIS is reaching a massive milestone. Between the flagship series, NCIS: Los Angeles, NCIS: New Orleans, NCIS: Hawai'i, and NCIS: Sydney, the franchise will air its 1,000th episode on April 15.

What started as a single series in 2003 has expanded to epic proportions with more than 42,000 minutes of naval investigations. And it's not slowing down. CBS has announced that more spinoffs are on the way. Of course, with that many episodes, a stunning number of guest stars have passed through the universe, including actors that hadn't yet risen to fame like Abigail Breslin, icons like Lily Tomlin and Jamie Lee Curtis, and even an appearance from First Lady Michelle Obama.

Here are the biggest guest stars to pass through NCIS shows during the franchise's first 1,000 episodes.

<p>CBS</p> Abigail Breslin on 'NCIS'


Abigail Breslin on 'NCIS'

Abigail Breslin

Abigail Breslin popped up in a season 2 episode back in 2004. This was after Signs but well before some of her most notable early performances in films like Little Miss Sunshine and Zombieland.

<p>CBS</p> Mya on 'NCIS'


Mya on 'NCIS'


When she made her guest appearance, Mya had already done her Grammy-winning "Lady Marmalade" collaboration with Christina Aguilera, Lil' Kim, and Pink for Moulin Rouge. She had also grabbed smaller roles in Chicago, Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, and Shall We Dance? when she appeared in a season 2 episode of NCIS.

<p>Ron Jaffe/CBS</p> Corey Stoll on 'NCIS'

Ron Jaffe/CBS

Corey Stoll on 'NCIS'

Corey Stoll

Before his villainous turn as Darren Cross in Ant-Man (and later, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania), Corey Stoll played Martin Quinn in three episodes of NCIS. He dropped in for back-to-back installments during season 4 and reprised the role in season 5.

<p>CBS</p> Susan Kelechi Watson on 'NCIS'


Susan Kelechi Watson on 'NCIS'

Susan Kelechi Watson

Like Stoll, Susan Kelechi Watson's character appeared in three NCIS episodes. The This Is Us actress first surfaced during an early season 5 episode before returning weeks later for another pair of episodes.

<p>Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty</p> Meredith Eaton on 'NCIS'

Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty

Meredith Eaton on 'NCIS'

Meredith Eaton

Following her breakout role on Boston Legal, Meredith Eaton's character, Carol Wilson, has appeared in five episodes across the NCIS universe. Eaton starred in one episode each in seasons 7, 9, 11, and 19 of NCIS, and in the second-ever episode of NCIS: New Orleans.

<p>Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty </p> Paula Newsome on 'NCIS'

Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty

Paula Newsome on 'NCIS'

Paula Newsome

Best known for her regular appearances on shows like CSI: Vegas and Chicago Med, Paula Newsome has been in another popular TV universe. Starting with the season 6 episode, "Knockout," Newsome appeared in four episodes of NCIS, with her most recent guest spot coming in 2013.

<p>Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty</p> Robert Wagner on 'NCIS'

Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty

Robert Wagner on 'NCIS'

Robert Wagner

The beloved actor has guest starred on NCIS as much as just about anyone who isn't a series regular. Robert Wagner played Anthony DiNozzo Sr., father of Michael Weatherly's Tony DiNozzo, in 13 episodes. Wagner's appearances began in 2010, and he was most recently on the show in 2019.

<p>Michael Yarish/CBS via Getty</p> Gena Rowlands on 'NCIS'

Michael Yarish/CBS via Getty

Gena Rowlands on 'NCIS'

Gena Rowlands

Gena Rowlands, whose lengthy career spans iconic independent films like A Woman Under the Influence and more recent dramas like Hope Floats, appeared in a season 7 episode of the flagship series.

<p>Monty Brinton/CBS </p> Jonathan Frakes on 'NCIS'

Monty Brinton/CBS

Jonathan Frakes on 'NCIS'

Jonathan Frakes

Best known for his role as William T. Riker in the Star Trek universe, Jonathan Frakes is also an accomplished director. He has flexed his acting and directing chops on NCIS: Los Angeles. He trekked into a scene just once but has directed six episodes of the show.

<p>Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty </p> Bob Newhart on 'NCIS'

Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty

Bob Newhart on 'NCIS'

Bob Newhart

The legendary Bob Newhart popped up during season 8 of NCIS. While he might not have appeared in shows and movies frequently in recent years, he has continued to act occasionally over the last 15 years, most recently taking on a recurring role in The Big Bang Theory and Young Sheldon.

<p>Cliff Lipson/CBS via Getty </p> Scott Wolf on 'NCIS'

Cliff Lipson/CBS via Getty

Scott Wolf on 'NCIS'

Scott Wolf

Scott Wolf, a veteran of many shows, had a three-episode run in season 9 of NCIS that included the season premiere, "Nature of the Beast."

<p>Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty</p> Cheryl Ladd on 'NCIS'

Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty

Cheryl Ladd on 'NCIS'

Cheryl Ladd

Former Charlie's Angels star Cheryl Ladd made her first and only NCIS cameo in a season 9 episode called "Thirst."

<p>Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty</p> Lily Tomlin on 'NCIS'

Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty

Lily Tomlin on 'NCIS'

Lily Tomlin

The hilarious Lily Tomlin's resume runs deep, and it includes NCIS. The 9 to 5 star graced a single season 9 episode back in 2011.

<p>Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty </p> Jamie Lee Curtis on 'NCIS'

Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty

Jamie Lee Curtis on 'NCIS'

Jamie Lee Curtis

The Oscar-winning Halloween actress took on a big role in the later part of NCIS' ninth season. Jamie Lee Curtis played Dr. Samantha Ryan across five episodes, starting with episode 16, "Psych Out."

<p>CBS</p> Glen Powell on 'NCIS'


Glen Powell on 'NCIS'

Glen Powell

Before Glen Powell took to the skies in Top Gun: Maverick, he had a two-episode NCIS stint during season 10.

<p>Robert Voets/CBS via Getty</p> Colin Hanks on 'NCIS'

Robert Voets/CBS via Getty

Colin Hanks on 'NCIS'

Colin Hanks

Colin Hanks was already a star with dozens of credits to his name when he had a three-episode run on NCIS, which spread across the end of season 10 and into the season 11 premiere.

<p>Richard Foreman/CBS via Getty </p> Michelle Trachtenberg on 'NCIS'

Richard Foreman/CBS via Getty

Michelle Trachtenberg on 'NCIS'

Michelle Trachtenberg

Michelle Trachtenberg jumped into NCIS: Los Angeles shortly after the end of Gossip Girl. The Buffy star appeared in a single season 5 episode.

<p>Greg Gayne/CBS via Getty </p> Jeri Ryan on 'NCIS'

Greg Gayne/CBS via Getty

Jeri Ryan on 'NCIS'

Jeri Ryan

Years after appearing in more than 100 episodes of Star Trek: Voyager — a role she reprised on Star Trek: PicardJeri Ryan guest starred in "Check," a season 12 episode of NCIS.

<p>Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson via CBS</p> Michelle Obama on 'NCIS'

Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson via CBS

Michelle Obama on 'NCIS'

Michelle Obama

It was a bit of a blink-and-you'll-miss-it appearance for First Lady Michelle Obama, who appeared as herself toward the end of the season 13 episode "Homefront." She was still First Lady at the time.

<p>Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty </p> Jon Cryer on 'NCIS'

Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty

Jon Cryer on 'NCIS'

Jon Cryer

Jon Cryer starred as Dr. Cyril Taft in a trio of episodes spread across season 13, starting with the season premiere. It was a big change from his role in Two and a Half Men, which was still airing at the time.

Taye Diggs on 'NCIS'
Taye Diggs on 'NCIS'

Taye Diggs

The varied career of Taye Diggs — from Rent to The House on Haunted Hill to Equilibrium — includes a one-episode pitstop on NCIS in 2016.

<p>Skip Bolen/CBS via Getty</p> Mario Lopez on 'NCIS: New Orleans'

Skip Bolen/CBS via Getty

Mario Lopez on 'NCIS: New Orleans'

Mario Lopez

Mario Lopez stopped in for an episode of NCIS: New Orleans in 2016. The Saved by the Bell actor and Access Hollywood host appeared as Officer Hernandez during season 3.

<p>am Lothridge/CBS via Getty</p> Sheryl Crow on 'NCIS: New Orleans'

am Lothridge/CBS via Getty

Sheryl Crow on 'NCIS: New Orleans'

Sheryl Crow

Better known for her music than her acting chops, a guitar-toting Sheryl Crow appeared as herself during a season 3 episode of NCIS: New Orleans. It did not qualify as her favorite mistake.

<p>Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty</p> Drew Carey on 'NCIS'

Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty

Drew Carey on 'NCIS'

Drew Carey

Who doesn't like a little corporate synergy? Drew Carey had been hosting The Price Is Right for years on CBS when he made a one-episode guest appearance in a 2018 episode of NCIS.

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