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Star Trek's Jonathan Frakes Played An Important Role On NCIS: Los Angeles

"Star Trek" veteran Jonathan Frakes has carved quite a legacy out for himself as an actor since replacing Billy Campbell as William Riker, but as a director he's left an even larger footprint. That reach has expanded into the world of "NCIS," specifically "NCIS: Los Angeles." Frakes directed six episodes of the action-drama over its run, adding to his long resume as a director, with the outings he led for the west-coast "NCIS" spanning eight seasons, and include the memorable Christmas episode "Free Ride" from Season 4.

Frakes' influence over the world of "NCIS: LA" doesn't just stop with his directing chops. He also has an uncredited appearance in an "NCIS: Los Angeles" episode "Disorder" from Season 2, playing a brief role as the nonspeaking Navy Commander Doctor Stanfill; the "Star Trek" actor goes uncredited for his performance, though he did receive credit for directing this installment. 

While a six episode directing run might sound particularly impressive, it appears just to be another day on the job for Frakes, who continues to lengthen his impressive resume both behind and in front of the cameras. 

Jonathan Frakes has made quite a name for himself as a director

From 1990 to 1994, Jonathan Frakes picked up the megaphone to helm eight episodes of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and hasn't stopped since.

Among the veteran performer's many directing credits are three episodes apiece of "Star Trek: Voyager" and "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine," the "Star Trek" films "First Contact" and "Insurrection," six episodes of "Star Trek: Picard" and seven episodes of "Star Trek: Discovery," which he swears is back on track for Season 5. His non-"Star Trek" directing credits are equally impressive and include 13 episodes of "Leverage," five episodes of "Burn Notice" and 10 of the TNT dramady "The Librarians" and the "Librarians"-universe television film "The Librarian III: Curse of the Sacred Chalice." As of press time he's still got a foot in both the acting and directing games, and even produced the CW classic "Roswell" and 11 episodes of "The Librarians." 

It hasn't all been roses for Frakes, who told Variety in 2023 that his very first time shepherding the rowdy, closely-knit "Next Generation" cast made him sympathize with previous directors who were frustrated by the experience. "I had a lot of support, including from my acting company. But I realized what these other directors had gone through and what a****** we were. And I had not a leg to stand on in terms of asking them to behave." But, since then, he's more than gotten his space legs under him.