6 TV Show Universes In Which Coffee Must Be Mandatory

Elementary, Burn Notice, NCIS, Person of Interest, Falling Skies, Stargate SG-1

By necessity, TV programs do not show us the full range of daily activities of the characters we love – at least on action adventure shows. Situation comedies thrive on showing us the mundane and making fun of it or blowing it out of proportion. For those action adventure shows, putting those activities on the air, except for small snippets, would slow down the action and be boring.

But, there are some of these programs where the characters seem to be on 24/7, with no real meaningful respite from the action. For these shows, the characters clearly are drinking something potent in the way of caffeine. I have therefore compiled a list of the shows I consider to be the most highly caffeinated.


Gibbs and Abby - NCIS

On NCIS, the characters frequently work through the night, and Gibbs actually makes a pretty big deal about his morning coffee, if he ever actually sleeps – which is doubtful. Everyone knows how important his morning brew is, and over the years there have actually been some funny scenes related to his coffee and others accidentally drinking it or spilling it, etc.

And then consider Abby, who is addicted to a soda like drink called Caf-Pow, which clearly explains her hyper personality. Gibbs and others on the team will frequently bring her a large cup, and she has tried to either cut down or eliminate her Caf-Pow with not so great results.

Hopefully not starting a west coast vs. east coast war, I would like to contrast NCIS with NCIS: Los Angeles in this respect. NCIS: LA, to me as a person living on the east coast, seems to have more of what I consider a relaxed southern California style. I can verify that many people living in the vicinity of the Nation’s Capital, where NCIS is set, are type A personalities, so the show vibe does reflect the general pace of life here accurately.

Burn Notice

Fiona and Michael - Burn Notice

Yes, we have occasionally – very occasionally, seen these folks sleep, but that sleep is frequently interrupted so that they come awake very suddenly with gun in hand, so really, is that restful to be on the alert even when asleep? Whatever little sleep these folks get is certainly of poor quality!

Then, let’s consider that they go continuously from one adventure to another, so I just don’t see any opportunity for them to sleep, you know? When you are constantly on the run, as they have been in the current season, and then you also throw in some cases to work, some of which were to advance their escape plan, it is amazing these people do not fall asleep at the wheel during a high speed car chase!

Falling Skies

Maggie, Hal Mason, Tom Mason, John Pope, Dan Weaver - Falling Skies

Another example of people on the run, this time from aliens, the main characters on this show may pretend to sleep, but we know the truth of the matter – not much resting going on for the leadership of the Second Mass!

Between planning their next attack, rescue, or move, and trying to figure out the motives of the newest random person that appears in their camp, most of the time these people are unable to relax. Even while in the seeming safe haven of Charleston, the politics and attacks likely kept anyone from having a good night’s rest. Guess it is time to raid a grocery store for coffee!

Person of Interest

Carter and Fusco - Person of Interest

Where to start with this show? Carter and Fusco can’t possibly get any meaningful sleep. They work two demanding jobs – one as police detectives, which leads to long hours and frequent nights out, and then as a sideline, or sometimes as the main event, as collaborators with John and Harold.

As in Burn Notice, these folks go from one crisis to another, barely having time to plan their next escapade, and thus clearly not having time to sleep properly!

And John must be similar to Michael and Fiona from Burn Notice, sleeping with a gun under his pillow, and never fully relaxing even when asleep. Clearly the price a spy pays for their chosen career.


Sherlock Holmes - Elementary

This show provides us with a somewhat different version of our favorite detective. However, certain parts of the canon on Holmes are preserved in part or in whole. After consulting with my in-house Holmes expert, the classic version could and would go days at a time with no sleep while working on a case.

On Elementary, Sherlock also fixates on a case and tying the clues together, eschewing sleep in his quest for the solution to the puzzle. We frequently see him working through the night, or being discovered by Watson after having pulled an all-nighter. At least Watson seems to get her eight hours!

Stargate SG-1

Sam and Daniel - Stargate SG-1

This show is indicative of most other outer space programs, in that they apparently go from one galactic crisis to another, or from captivity to freedom and back, or whatever, with little or no sleep.

One of the main characters, Daniel, seems to always have a cup of coffee in his hand or nearby when at Stargate Command. And, in the season 3 episode “Crystal Skull” he is surprised when the rest of the team is not working through the night to figure out where he is: “Whatever happened to working through the night? I’d do it for you.” Of course, he was invisible to them at the time due to being out of phase or whatever technobabble you might want to use, so they did not hear his comment, but it was certainly indicative of the way he normally operated. Carter also was known to lose track of time and work through the night without ever going home.


So, there’s my list. Do you have any favorite shows that belong on it? Any comments on my list? Please let me know your thoughts in the comment section below!