Dennis Smith was one of the go-to directors for the popular television drama "NCIS" (CBS 2003- ); his several dozen episodes of the series balance propulsive, adrenaline-fueled storytelling with moments of laugh-out loud comedy. From the beginning of his career, Smith was a student of this singular action-comedy blend: as a camera operator, he cut his teeth on some of the films that defined the style, from Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell's buddy-cop team-up "Tango & Cash" (1989) to the full-on slapstick of the enormous hit "Home Alone" (1990). In the early 1990s, he moved into cinematography on the critically-acclaimed small town drama "Picket Fences" (CBS 1992-96); while working on this show, stars Tom Skeritt and Kathy Baker advised a career change to director; in fact, Smith's first directing credit came on an episode in the show's final season. Smith then went on to provide cinematography for another series by "Picket Fences" creator David E. Kelley, legal drama "The Practice" (ABC 1997-2004), helping establish the cool, dark visual palette of the show from early on. During the show's second season, Smith began working as a director, eventually helming 20 episodes during its lengthy run. By the 2000s, Smith was working full-time as a director, specializing in hour-long action and procedural dramas such as "JAG" (NBC/CBS, 1995-2005) and "Numb3rs" (CBS 2005-10). His first episode of "NCIS," a "JAG" spin-off centered on a criminal investigation team for the military, appeared early in the show's first season; during the show's first decade on the air, Smith directed over 50 episodes. Smith's director credits also include the offshoot "NCIS: Los Angeles" (CBS 2009- ), "Person of Interest" (CBS 2011- ) and cult-favorite science fiction program "Fringe" (Fox, 2008-2013).