NCIS is shot on 35 mm film, so the idea of using SD or HD digital video cameras is erroneous. The film is telecined into 1080p24 etc. No major US programs are shot with video cameras. Video cameras are generally only used for news and studio based shows, e.g., Ellen in 4:3 SD or Rove 16:9 HD (not US but proves my point).
That explains a lot. Surely programmes shot in native 1080 HD will be better than film. Haven't seen a movie or US drama yet that matches Rove or the cricket for image sharpness.
Most movies are shot using 35mm film and then digitised for DVD/Blu-ray and other distribution. Film has much greater resolution than 1080 pixels so that isn't a problem.
Some shows tagged as HD have a decidedly SD feel to them though. Not sure of the reasons for the variation.