AustLit logo
Shane Brennan Shane Brennan i(A70379 works by) (a.k.a. Shane Patrick Brennan)
Born: Established: 1957 Bendigo, Bendigo area, Ballarat - Bendigo area, Victoria, ;
Gender: Male
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.


Shane Brennan began his career as a newspaper journalist and an on-air television reporter for the ABC in Australia in the 1970s. By 1981, he had left journalism for work as a television script-writer. His work between the early 1980s and the mid-1990s includes scripts for such widely varied television programs as police drama Special Squad; television-studio drama Prime Time; young-adult drama about Australian multi-culturalism In Between; medical dramas A Country Practice and The Flying Doctors; sit-com All Together Now; Barron Entertainment's circus-based children's drama Clowning Around; Jonathan M. Shiff Productions' young-adult ecological science-fiction program Ocean Girl; the Australian Children's Television Foundation (ACTF) live-action/puppetry program Lift Off; and historical drama Banjo Paterson's 'The Man from Snowy River'.

From the mid-1990s, Brennan began seeking work on American cable programs, including the Australian-based but American-produced Flipper. As he notes in an interview for ScreenHub, 'I started travelling backwards and forwards for about five years - usually four or five times a year, coming for two or three weeks at a time, doing lots and lots of meetings, all at my expense.' Excluding Flipper, none of Brennan's scripts for American programs in this period are included on his public bibliographies.

Brennan continued to write for Australian programs into the early 2000s, including scripts for crime dramas Good Guys, Bad Guys, State Coroner, and Stingers; television movie Witch Hunt; ACTF children's program Crash Zone; American-produced/Australian-filmed fantasy The Lost World; and country-life drama McLeod's Daughters.

By around 2003, however, Brennan had become increasingly frustrated with Australian television production processes. He notes in his interview with ScreenHub that

'I'd had a couple of projects that hadn't got off the ground, for no apparent reason so I got very frustrated with it. One of the things that happened - another writer and I got a pilot script and I pitched it to the network and they read the script and they said no-one would ever want to do this. What makes you think anyone would want to watch a show like this? You guys should just stick to writing, why do you want to produce this kind of program? They basically just dismissed it out of hand.'

With a professional network already established in the United States, Brennan shifted countries permanently, and began writing for such programs as CSI: Miami, Summerland, and One Tree Hill. Following these programs, he became co-executive producer and then, the following year, executive producer/showrunner of naval crime dramas NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service and NCIS: Los Angeles, becoming the first Australian writer to showrun a network prime time drama series in the U.S. In 2007, Brennan achieved another first for an Australian writer when he successfully created NCIS: Los Angeles. He continued as show runner on both NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles until 2011. In that time, NCIS  became the most watched scripted series on television in the U.S., with  NCIS: Los Angeles the second most watched series. In 2013, Brennan created King & Maxwell for cable broadcaster TNT. Brennan continued as executive producer/showrunner of NCIS: Los Angeles until 2016, when he returned to Australia and started Scripted Ink, a not for profit company aimed at revitalising the Australian television industry by funding Australian screenwriters for both television and film. 

Further References:

Keveney, Bill. 'Shane Brennan of 'NCIS': The Hardest-working Man in TV Biz'. USA Today. 22 Sep. 2009. ( (Sighted: 12/9/2012)

Tiley, David. 'Shane Brennan: Showrunning NCIS, Remembering his Australian Roots.' ScreenHub. 19 Jan. 2011. ( (Sighted 12/9/2012)

Most Referenced Works

Awards for Works

form y separately published work icon McLeod's Daughters ( dir. Ali Ali et. al. )agent Australia : Nine Network Southern Star Entertainment , 2001-2009 Z1858228 2001-2009 series - publisher film/TV
2006 nominated Logie Awards Most Outstanding Drama Series
2004 nominated Logie Awards Most Outstanding Drama Series
form y separately published work icon Stingers ( dir. Julian McSwiney et. al. )agent Australia : Beyond Simpson Le Mesurier Nine Network , 1998-2004 6031565 1998 series - publisher film/TV crime detective

'Inspired by true events, Stingers reveals the shadowy and ambiguous world of undercover cops — people with covert lives and constantly changing identities. They are police who defeat crime from within the criminal world — always without a badge and frequently without protection. The series follows the lives of the operatives as they befriend and betray those on the other side of the law. For these select few, it is a deadly way of life.The undercover cops of Stingers are a unique breed. They must juggle their own lives — love, laughter, family and humanity — with the tension of the criminal personas they adopt in their passion for justice.'

Source: Australian Television Information Archive. (Sighted: 7/6/2013)

nominated Most Outstanding Drama Series
nominated Most Outstanding Drama Series
2001 nominated Logie Awards Most Outstanding Drama Series
2005 nominated Logie Awards Most Outstanding Drama Series
2003 nominated AFI Awards Australian Film Institute Awards Best Television Drama Series
2004 won AFI Awards Australian Film Institute Awards Best Television Drama Series
2003 nominated Logie Awards Most Outstanding Drama Series
2002 nominated Logie Awards Most Outstanding Drama Series
form y separately published work icon Good Guys, Bad Guys ( dir. Brendan Maher et. al. )agent 1997 Australia : Beyond Simpson Le Mesurier Nine Network , 1997-1998 Z1367327 1997 series - publisher film/TV crime

An edgy and off-beat crime series that relies heavily on humour, contemporary music, and a touch of the bizarre, centring on the character of Elvis Maginnis. An ex-cop from the wrong side of the tracks, Maginnis now runs his own dry-cleaning business but still finds himself drawn into the shady side of life.

1998 nominated Logie Awards Most Outstanding Drama Series
Last amended 8 Aug 2022 15:48:15
Other mentions of "" in AustLit: