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16x01 - Destiny's Child - One month after Director Vance was kidnapped, Gibbs is assigned the role of acting director in his absence while the team searches worldwide for his whereabouts, on the 16th season premiere of, NCIS
Tuesday September 25th, (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT)

Posted by Admin on February 5th, 2014


Few television shows – let alone TV drama series – have matched the phenomenal worldwide success of NCIS.

On CBS, its network home in America, the long-running crime procedural regularly attracts audiences of up to 20 million, with one episode from its 10th season – about to debut on Channel 5 in the UK – pulling in a series high of 22.86m.

David McCallum – the British acting legend who has played Dr Donald ‘Ducky’ Mallard since the show’s inception – puts the longevity and success of NCIS simply down to good writing. He calls the show’s creator Donald Bellisario “a television genius” but doesn’t stop short of singling out the man’s failings either.

McCallum – the veteran of such classic films and television as The Man from UNCLE, Sapphire & Steel and The Great Escape – appears unflinchingly honest, at times almost blunt, but still speaks with great passion about NCIS and the aspects of his job that he enjoys.

“Don Bellisario worked as an advertising executive, even when he was writing scripts, and he loved to work to a deadline,” the 80-year-old recalls of the show’s early days. “After a couple of years, we got to the point where we were getting scripts late from him. There was a little problem between Mark Harmon – who was representing the cast and crew – and Don, so CBS decided that Don would leave us.

“We now have Gary Glasberg [as showrunner] and he is another of these amazing television producers that just knows how to write shows, how to cast them and how to care for his cast.”

The scripts penned by Glasberg and his writing team are “fundamental” to the show’s fortunes, says McCallum: “In the millions of years that I’ve been in this business, I’ve learned that you can tell right away from a script if a project’s going to be a success or failure. We have a team of writers that give us a wonderful vehicle.”

Despite its huge numbers and popularity across the globe, the ride has not always been smooth for NCIS and McCallum speaks with equal candour about the recent sudden departure of his co-star Cote de Pablo at the beginning of the show’s 11th season.

“First of all, it was frustration and anger that someone should just walk out on us,” he says of de Pablo’s decision to quit the series, which McCallum claims necessitated rapid last-minute rewrites on multiple episodes.

“I have emailed her since then and she seems fine, but I just don’t understand how a leading lady in a show that’s worldwide – who ostensibly wants to have a career as an actress – suddenly walks away from such a gem and just vanishes a couple of days before we start production.”

It was “a dangerous road” to go down, he adds, but McCallum has nothing but kind words for de Pablo’s eventual replacement, actress Emily Wickersham. “This business is merciless so right away the whole team of writers gets in and re-writes the first five shows. They then go out with CBS and [network president] Les Moonves and they find Emily Wickersham. She is a complete antithesis to everything that Cote de Pablo was.

“Emily is quite enchanting and a delight to be with and a wonderful actress. She’s also young and inexperienced in many ways, so that leaves a wonderful door for people like Mark Harmon and the directors to teach and encourage and help her so she can grow as an actress.”

That potentially hazardous hurdle overcome, McCallum has faith that NCIS will continue to dominate the schedules and entertain worldwide audiences for some time to come. “As long as there’s life in David…” he laughs. “…there’s life in Ducky!”

David McCallum stars in NCIS: Season 10 starting tonight (Wednesday, February 5) at 9pm on Channel 5.

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Posted by Admin on February 4th, 2014


Question: Michael Weatherly has made a few statements recently which indicate that Cote de Pablo may return to NCIS full-time. What can you tell us about this? —Anne
Ausiello:
Weatherly said on the red carpet at the People’s Choice Awards, “We miss her every day… and I really hope she comes back.” Period. Cue the “Telephone Game.” That said, it seems that de Pablo wouldn’t be guaranteed the warmest of homecomings. David “Ducky” McCallum recently expressed to DigitalSpy his “frustration and anger that someone should just walk out on us,” adding: “I just don’t understand how a leading lady in a show that’s worldwide, who ostensibly wants to have a career as an actress, suddenly walks away from such a gem and just vanishes a couple of days before we start production.”

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Posted by Admin on January 16th, 2014


NCIS is off until February. But Gary Glasberg is here to give us an in-depth look ahead.

NCIS Season 11 has been one of change, new directions and new faces.

And it could’ve all crashed and burned like a conspirator’s bomb.

Instead, the show has recovered well from the departure of Cote de Pablo’s Ziva and the impact that development had on core relationship of Ziva and Tony.

The addition of Emily Wickersham as Ellie Bishop has been a positiv thing mostly because she’s not so much as a replacement for Ziva as she is a new, interesting character for the NCIS team and the series itself. Bravo!

At the Television Critics Association press tour yesterday, I sat down with showrunner Gary Glasberg to talk over where we’re at in this season and where we’re heading, including why he and Mark Harmon may soon be spending time in New Orleans.

TV Fanatic: You guys have gone over this big hurdle with Ziva gone and it seems to be working really well.

Gary Glasberg: It’s kind of great. I’m fascinated by…Season 11 should be like you come in and put it on auto-pilot and it’s been anything but that. So to be hit with what we started with, which was Ziva’s departure, and then all the effort that went into finding Emily and creating Bishop…

I think that overall the response has been fantastic. There’ll always be a group of people who continue to really hold on, and I appreciate how connected they are to Ziva but I don’t think I could have asked for this transition to work any better, honestly.

TVF: The fact that you’re still bringing up Ziva’s name, how do you navigate when to stop doing that or when you don’t need to do it as much? Is there a gauge for that at all?

GG: I feel like, internally, we all feel like it’s necessary to move on. We recognize in life that people might comment or look back or say, ‘Ziva would have done this,’ or ‘Ziva would have done that.’ Is there an opportunity to do that? Yeah, once in a while. But I also feel like it’s a little bit of a mine field in that every time you revisit a character like that, it brings your existing cast back, and they’re not allowed to grow, and so it’s important for all of them to move on in a lot of ways.

There’s an interesting dynamic, a brother-sister sort of dynamic that’s there between Tony and Bishop. You know, the connection between Bishop and Gibbs, I think, is different than anything that he had with Ziva. We’re pleased with it. And off-camera, too, the chemistry and the support that Harmon and Weatherly and Pauley and the rest of the team have offered to Emily has been fantastic. And we’ll experiment and find things and continue to figure out who she is.

TVF: Will we get more personal stories with her and get to know her life outside of work?

GG: No, it’ll get there. We know that she’s married. We know that she’s from Oklahoma. I’d love to meet her parents at some point, or a parent. We know that she’s got a large family, a bunch of brothers. I’d love to meet them. I know that the husband, who’s also at the NSA, is a big part of who she is, and we’ll certainly touch on that at some point, but the beauty of NCIS is sort of doling it out in little bits and pieces and touching on it and then walking away from it for a while and coming back, so we’ll get there.

TVF: In regards to this week’s episode, our review brought up whether Tony flirting with Martinez was too soon, not because of Ziva but because of McGee’s story. Thoughts?

GG: It’s such a tightrope, and everyone responds to Tony differently. At some point, we have to let Tony be Tony. And part of his defense mechanism is flirtation. And so wherever he is psychologically, to look at a woman or comment to a woman or spend time with a woman may not be what you’re interpreting on the surface. There’s usually something else going on with him, it’s just the nature of who he is.

TVF: Is there more of Martinez coming?

GG: Right now, we don’t have anything written, but I think the consensus was that she was fun. So if the opportunity comes up and we can make a connection through a case, then I’d be happy to have her come back.

TVF: The whole Parsa story, that arc, is that going to be with us for a while or is that just kind of a contained arc?

GG: After [NCIS Season 11 Episode 13], there’s one more, and then it wraps itself up in a really significant, cool way and I’m about to go into the editing room and start working on that. I’m pleased with it. It was a fun sort of villain to launch at the beginning of the season. It’s not going to carry all the way through to the end, but we’ll certainly tie it up in a way that I think people will be satisfied with.

TVF: Will repercussions from the end of that arc, will we see that, moving forward? Does it have any kind of big impact?

GG: It absolutely affects Gibbs. It affects Bishop in a huge way. And of course, the repercussions of what happened between McGee and Delilah will continue further into the season.

TVF: What can you tell me about where we’re heading with Delilah and McGee and how her recovery will impact their relationship?

GG: Adding this to any relationship is a tremendous amount of weight on both of their shoulders. She has to figure out what her life is going to be like. He now has a relationship with someone who’s been through something tragic and is dealing with changes and who they are and how they’re going to move forward. I think it’s real and I think that they’ll come at issues and problems as they surface. I’m excited about it. I feel like it’s not something that you see on television very often. To have a disabled character will be unique for us, it will be a challenge but I think all the writers are willing to rise to the occasion and give it a shot.

TVF: I know she’s very busy, but Susanna Thompson, any more with her? She has such a nice chemistry with Mark.

GG: That worked out well, didn’t it? I’d love to have her come back. You know, it was funny. It had been so long. And we approached her, and I think she was a little hesitant, just wondering what it was that we were planning. And then when she saw the script and how we wanted to use her, she came and played and was excited, and it went great. She told us she had a fantastic time. So I think it would be fun to have her back again, but we’ll have to see when and where…I was very lucky in that because of the relationship between CBS and the CW, we were able to figure something out. But scheduling-wise, she would go shoot up there for a few days and then she’d come back to us. It was a little bit of a juggle.

TVF: I know over the years Gibbs has had different romantic things, whether it’s Jamie Lee Curtis or other people. Will Gibbs have any romance the rest of this season?

GG: This season, because of all of the change and the adjustment and the things that were being introduced, we didn’t feel like this was a season to sort of get him involved with someone, but it’s always a fun story arc, and Mark’s always game. It’ll happen again.

TVF: Where are you and Mark with the spin-off?

GG: I’ve written two episodes that will air sometime the end of March. Both scripts are written. I’m really excited about it. The characters are rich and fun and different, and it mixes the Washington with this New Orleans world in what I hope is a unique and different way. We haven’t cast yet. We’re just starting the process. There’s a lot of work to do. I’m going to go down there next week for a day or two. It’s all just beginning and ramping up, and people seem to be enthusiastic, and hopefully, we’ll come up with something good.

TVF: Can we expect all of our NCIS people to be in those episodes, or do you think you’ll give some of them a breather just because there will be new people coming in?

GG: The way that the scripts are structured, they don’t all go [to New Orleans], but they are all in the episodes. So there’s business going on in DC and then there’s business going on back there, and there’s a lot of inter-cutting that happens.

TVF: What does the rest of the season hold, including the 250th episode. Any guest stars to talk about?

GG: We’re in prep on the big DiNozzo senior 250th episode, so we’re excited about that. After that, I don’t think I have anybody really, guest-wise, lined up yet, but I know I’ve got some roles coming up that should be fun. And then also, the writing staff and I are about to sit down and start arcing out the final four episodes of the season.

So yeah, it’s a bit of a roller coaster ride from this point forward because I’ve got an episode that starts prepping Monday, and then right after that, we start prepping New Orleans. So there’s all the work that goes along with that. And then I come back from those two episodes, and then I think we have one or two episodes, and then we’ll launch right into our final arc. So it’s going to be an interesting run.

TVF: For the 250th, do you approach it as more of an homage to the 250 episodes or do you think of it as a way to kind of shift gears a little bit for whatever’s coming next?

GG: When we did Man Walks Into a Bar, that was really an homage and that was something we understood could be different and should be different. This is really just a really sort of a fun, traditional episode of the show. It’s a milestone. It’s a fantastic milestone. We’re happy with how things are going and want to keep it going. We figured bringing back Mr. Wagner was a fun nod to things, and he actually did the 150th. So yeah. So we figured, well, this is a good time to do it.

NCIS Season 11 airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on CBS.

Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of JimHalterman.com. Follow him on Twitter.

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Posted by Admin on January 7th, 2014


As the new kid on the block on NCIS, Ellie Bishop is starting to find her footing with her new job assignment and colleagues — and the same can be said for Emily Wickersham, who portrays the quirky NSA agent.

“I love her awkwardness, and I love how smart she is,” Wickersham tells TVGuide.com about her character. “She totally lacks self-awareness, because she’s so wrapped up in her own thoughts that she’s kind of absent-minded. She’s so used to working by herself and thinking things through in her head alone. And so socially, I think sometimes that can kind of come off in an odd way, but it’s just that this is how she works.”

On Tuesday’s episode, “Kill Chain” (8/7c, CBS), the NCIS crew teams up with the Department of Defense to track down a stolen drone that links back to the terrorist cell Parsa. In doing so, Bishop crosses paths with Gibbs’ (Mark Harmon) ex-girlfriend, Hollis Mann (Susanna Thompson). “Bishop learns a lot about Gibbs’ ex-loves in this episode,” Wickersham teases. “It seems to be a recurring theme. There’s also a big moment that happens at the end that I can’t really talk about … that’ll have a long-lasting impact on the team members.”

Wickersham admits she was intimidated to come in as a replacement for Ziva David (Cote de Pablo), whose departure from the show earlier this season left many fans reeling. “Her work here was amazing, and I think they’re big shoes to fill,” Wickersham said of her predecessor. “So I was totally nervous. I still am nervous about it. But I’m excited to be here and to be a part of this team, and excited to work with them all.”

And as for Tiva ‘shippers who were rooting for a romance between Ziva and Tony (Michael Weatherly), Wickersham says they shouldn’t expect to see any sparks flying between Bishop and DiNozzo. “It’s definitely a very different relationship,” she says. “With Tony, it’s pretty brotherly. … There are some jokes cracked between the two, just like a brother and a sister would have. There’s sibling stuff happening.” (It’s also worth noting that Bishop is happily married, and her husband will be introduced in a future episode.)

Though Bishop is still working with NCIS on a temporary joint assignment with NSA, it’s a safe bet the character will be sticking around for a while, as Wickersham was upped to a series regular before she even made her debut. “We’ll see if she gets to join the team,” the actress says coyly. “I think it’s something that really excites her, being able to work as a team member. Growing up with three older brothers, she’s used to being around guys. And in terms of her relationship with Gibbs, I think he’s really a mentor and a fatherly figure to her. She really looks up to him in a lot of ways, and wants to do good in his eyes.”

Some fans are taking a while to warm up to Bishop, but Wickersham is confident that she’ll win them over eventually. “I totally get it,” she says of viewers who are still struggling with the new dynamic. “I think it’s kind of a weird thing when a new person comes in, but in terms of how Ellie Bishop is, I think she just wants to do well and she’s very driven, and she’s excited just to be a part of the team. I hope the viewers will embrace that and appreciate that about her.”

How are you feeling about Ellie Bishop on NCIS? Vote in our poll!

NCIS airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on CBS.

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Posted by Admin on January 7th, 2014


CBS’ NCIS resumes Season 11 tonight at 8/7c with the renewed threat of terrorist Benham Parsa, whose handiwork first targeted Gibbs’ team in the fall premiere. As part of TVLine’s midseason preview special, we invited showrunner Gary Glasberg to tease what’s ahead, address some concerns about the team’s newest player and weigh in on NCIS: New Orleans casting ideas.

TVLINE | First, I have to comment on the “Devil’s Triad” episode featuring Diane Fornell’s return, which was funnier that two-thirds of the sitcoms on that week. And you’re doing this with the older members of the cast. Put Mark Harmon, Joe Spano and Melinda McGraw in a room together and they’re hilarious.
Yeah, they’re really good and they really enjoy working together. We know we can’t do that all the time, but it’s fun in between serious story lines to mix it up and have a good time. Mark Harmon has fun with it.

TVLINE | OK, because I was privately wondering as I watched these scenes — specifically when Gibbs gets uncomfortable because Tobias is talking about his sex life or naughty texts — if Mark enjoys all that or not.
No, he loves it. We’re 11 seasons into a show and it’s an opportunity to lighten it up for an episode and have some fun and see a different side of things. We recognize that it’s not a well that we can go to often, but once in a while it’s fun.

TVLINE | Will you be opening the second half of the season with some narrative momentum? Is it time to start zeroing in on a bigger through line?
Yes, and the Parsa story that we set up at the beginning of the year, the terrorist story, is going to all come back in a big way. Episode 12 is going to come out of the gate hot.

TVLINE | What are you doing with Hollis Mann in that episode?
Susanna Thompson is back as Hollis Mann on January 7 and she plays a big part in the investigation that’s going on, and then she has this huge backstory in these really terrific scenes with Harmon, with Gibbs. Their moments together are terrific, and apparently she had a great time coming back some 150 episodes later. I think that she wasn’t quite sure, after all this time, what we were going to have her doing, but she plays a really key role in how that story unfolds.

TVLINE | What all are you saying at this point about Episode 250 [which begins filming in late January]?
Well, you’ve got the return of DiNozzo Sr. [Robert Wagner] also did our 150th episode, which I didn’t even put together when we were planning it on the wall. There’s a new woman coming into the lives of the DiNozzo boys….

TVLINE | Tony Sr. has moved on?
Dad is spending time with someone, yeah, so it’ll be fun. We’re going to have a good time with it. [It brings] lots of questions and uncomfortable moments for Michael Weatherly[‘s character].

TVLINE | OK, because if the fans ever make one comment about the DiNozzo reunions, is that they’re always kind of huggy and there’s never much angst or any real issues.
This will be angst and lightness and fun and all the while, a crime going on at the same time.

TVLINE | One of our readers wanted to know if you will touch again on Tony and the support group he was going to….
That might come up again. Frank [Cardea] and George [Schenck] are actually going to write the 250th episode, so maybe in conjunction with that we can have some fun with that, since they’re the ones that brought it up to begin with [in the episode “Alibi”].

TVLINE | Last summer, pre-season, you teased that you had something percolating regarding Ducky. Is that still in place?
I don’t know. Probably when I said that, I didn’t expect the season to unfold quite the way it did as it has so far. If that happens, it would probably be something that we do toward the end of the season. That’s what we’re figuring out right now. But in the immediate future, no.

TVLINE | Any other specific beats you want to talk up?
Well, in “Kill Chain,” Delilah gets really involved again, so Margo Harshman is coming back and McGee’s relationship moves along a little bit further. I’ve been thrilled to have her and we’ve got some exciting things planned for that relationship. It feels real to us, we’re having a good time with it and people love to have Margo around. Then Wendy Makkena, who played Kate’s sister, Dr. [Rachel] Cranston, comes back in Episode 13.

TVLINE | Who is she going to be shrinking?
She comes back as part of what happens with the Parsa story. She sort of checks in with everybody and has some interesting insight and even comments. She knows all about the history of that desk and who sat there, and she has a really lovely scene with Bishop.

TVLINE | Let’s talk for a moment about Bishop and what must have been a balancing act in introducing her. Because you want to establish that this gal knows her stuff, but as I even saw in “Devil’s Triad,” there arguably are moments where she kind of shows up Gibbs – and that can rub people the wrong way.
That’s interesting, because we certainly didn’t mean it that way. You want to prove to people that she’s an asset, that she’s valuable to the team. But she shouldn’t come across as disrespectful in any way. She’s very much a part of this group. She has a specific talent and a specific purpose and if it feels like she’s steering them in any way, that’s the last thing we want. If people are responding that way, then believe me, we hear it and we’ll do everything we can to make it not feel that way.

TVLINE | Are we going to see any chinks in her armor? She’s been relatively perfect for an untrained agent so far.
Actually, you’ve got something really significant coming up once we come back after the holidays. She’s got faults just like everybody else.

TVLINE | Is it safe to say that Parsa will figure into your season finale?
No. But I would say that [sets in motion] a bit of a roller coaster ride for a good portion of the winter.

TVLINE | Do you know what your season finale is, then?
Actually, we just had a little meeting about it. We have a sense of where we’re heading but there’s a lot of work to do. And I have to write the two episodes of [the] New Orleans [spin-off pilot] before that.

TVLINE | When I reported on the roles you’re casting for New Orleans, I suggested Tom Welling (Smallville) for LaSalle and the readers went nuts. I also at one point tried to come up with a cast list that was all New Orleans-born actors, but I only got as far as Frederick Weller from In Plain Sight and Katherine LaNassa, who’s kind of busy over on Longmire.
I enjoyed that list. That was fun. I forwarded your article to our casting department and everybody said, “Yeah, those are all good.”

TVLINE | And then some fans say, “Bring back Joel Gretsch on the spin-off.” That Stan Burley could be one of the characters.
Well, that’s the fun part. I also saw a tweet from Diane Neal, saying how excited she is about New Orleans. All of those characters, they can all cycle through.

TVLINE | Even when I spoke to Rocky Carroll the other day, he was like, “I want to visit New Orleans.”
Well, he’s the director, so it’s very plausible and hopefully likely. I’m excited about the opportunities and as soon as we get the scripts done and we get deeper into casting and things start to happen, I’m happy to talk to you about it some more.

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Posted by Admin on January 5th, 2014


Laying claim to the NCIS desk that someone else occupied for nearly 200 episodes — and on TV’s most watched drama, no less — was a “very big thing” for Emily Wickersham (The Sopranos, The Bridge). But based on the results of a TVLine reader poll and viewer reaction to date, the transition has gone as well as anyone could reasonably expect.

Though Wickersham never crossed paths with predecessor Cote de Pablo (“I would love to meet her someday,” she shares), she absolutely appreciates the significance of filling the void created in the wake of Agent Ziva David’s departure. As NCIS resumes Season 11 this Tuesday at 8/7c, TVLine spoke with Ellie Bishop’s portrayer about joining the CBS drama and soon exposing her character’s less-than-perfect traits.

TVLINE | After your first episode, we put up a poll asking readers for their first impression of Bishop. Seventy-eight percent either “love” or “like” her. Is that number pleasantly surprising for you?
Oh wow. Yeah. That’s really nice to hear. I know it’s a weird change for a lot of these viewers, so that’s really nice. I like hearing that a lot.

TVLINE | You’re surrounded at NCIS by people who have been on the show for nine, 10 years. Was there any advice as you kind of entered this lion’s den, this tricky transition?
I think everyone knew it was going to be a bit of a bumpy start, but the writing is so great here and the way they wrote Bishop was so wonderful. She’s not an intimidating character. She’s really excited to be here. She’s determined. She’s charming in her own weird ways. I think she’s non-threatening, which I hope comes across. You know?

TVLINE | Gary Glasberg told me that you “brought some fun stuff to the table” in creating the character. Such as…? Maybe the sitting on desks?
Oh, well that’s nice to hear. As I said, she was written so well, but from the beginning I set about finding those little quirks and looking for little things to bring out in her. So yeah, for example, sitting on the desk was something I did in the [audition] that was brought into each episode. Then they brought in the funny food associations, where she’ll remember what she was eating when she was studying certain facts, which I thought was quirky and cool.

TVLINE | What’s the sum total of her backstory that you know thus far?
Well, Ellie is from a big family in Oklahoma, a Midwestern girl…. We know that she is married, though we don’t really know much about Bishop’s husband yet.

TVLINE | Isn’t he a lawyer? Haven’t we heard or read that much?
I’m not sure what’s been revealed, to be honest, but it’s a storyline that I’m really looking forward to getting to know more about. I think it’ll be fun to see where Bishop comes from. She has three older brothers, Kill Chainwhich I think makes the transition to hanging out with the NCIS crew easier. She’s used to being surrounded “by the guys”….

TVLINE | …taking guff and teasing, that kind of stuff.
Yeah. Yeah. That’s been a part of her whole life thus far, so that comes easily to her.

TVLINE | Bishop has come off as a bit “perfect” so far, so I asked Gary if we’re going to be picking up on any faults of hers. He said there’s something really significant coming up after the holidays….
Oh, yeah. I know what he was referring to, but it’s something I don’t think I can talk about yet. For me, I think the faults in people are the most interesting and fun things to play. Like anyone, she’s got her weaknesses for sure. Even though she’s usually very on top of it, there are definitely weaknesses and faults that’ll pop out.

TVLINE | As an NSA analyst, her field experience has been an issue. Has she ever, like, fired a gun?
She’s gone through, with NSA, weapons and field training. That was actually something that I had to do before I started here. Our tech advisor, Leon Carroll, took me to the gun range. I had never held a gun in my life, so I was terrified.

TVLINE | Loud, right? My first time at a gun range, I was not quite prepared for that.
Oh my gosh, they’re so loud. I mean, you wear [ear protection], but I was so scared that the gun was like, going to turn around and shoot me. I mean, they are so powerful. But that kind of comes with the NCIS territory, so it’s definitely something to know about.

TVLINE | Well, she’s already helped apprehend a guy by hitting him with a car, so a gun’s almost a step down.
Exactly. I mean, she could just use the car as a weapon!

TVLINE | Lastly, what might viewers be surprised to know about NCIS‘ newest cast member?
Well, unlike my character, I’m very nervous. I mean, I guess Ellie was nervous about joining the team, but I was really nervous about joining NCIS just because it’s been around for a while. Coming into that was really intimidating and scary. I’m a nervous person, so that was a very, very big thing!

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Posted by Admin on November 11th, 2013


BEVERLY HILLS, CA—It took Michael Weatherly to finally explain his former co-star Cote de Pablo’s departure from NCIS.

After eight seasons as special agent Ziva David, de Pablo announced last June she would not return to the series. CBS wanted her back. The producers wanted her back, but de Pablo stuck to her guns and walked away from TV’s No. 1 drama. (It airs Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. on Global.)

Ziva and Weatherly’s character, senior special agent Anthony DiNozzo, had a long-running will-they, won’t-they relationship on the show.

“It was really with the arrival of Cote that I think something special happened there,” Weatherly told a gathering of international press earlier this month. While it was “never a love story, never rolling over and pillow talk,” there was always a great deal of chemistry between the characters. He compared the big orange squad room on NCIS to the newsroom in the classic film His Girl Friday, with DiNozzo and Ziva having an intense love-hate connection like Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell in the movie.

What happens next? Weatherly says his character is finally getting in touch with feelings he never knew he had. “Kind of like you don’t know what you’re missing till it’s gone,” he says. This leads to some soul searching and then, next Tuesday, on the Nov. 19 episode, the arrival of a new actress and a new love interest for DiNozzo: Emily Wickersham, who joins the cast full-time as NSA analyst Eleanor “Ellie” Bishop, a specialist in international terrorism and global preparation.

“I think the audience is going to be extremely interested and rewarded,” says Weatherly. “The chemistry is magical.”

“We’re thrilled to have her,” Mark Harmon, who plays DiNozzo’s boss Leroy “Jethro” Gibbs, told the same reporters one day earlier. “We’re all intrigued and satisfied with the actress.”

Still, Wickersham has some big shoes to fill. De Pablo’s arrival led to a sharp upturn in popularity for the series. As Harmon noted, she had been with the cast eight seasons. “That’s high school and college.”

There was the usual speculation at first that de Pablo’s departure was a negotiating ploy; that she was holding out for more money. All involved insist that that’s not the case. The actress simply wanted a break from the series.

“It’s a very tough commitment,” says Weatherly, who adds, “Boo-hoo, go cry in a bag of money.”

The New York native can never stay serious for too long. He quotes Oscar Wilde’s line, “Life is too important to be taken seriously.”

Weatherly suggested that de Pablo was simply at a different stage in her personal life than some of her more settled cast members, “No weddings, no funerals, no birthdays,” he said of the long hours and total commitment a 22-episode network TV drama demands. “You’re just deployed.”

While Weatherly and others seem to have their lives lined up for now, “Cote’s still figuring out the life part,” he says. “She just wanted a break.”

He says he’ll miss her sense of humour on the set. “She is cosmically funny,” he says. “We never really saw that side of Ziva because she was always kicking people in the face.”

Weatherly’s life became a lot more settled after he met his second wife, Bojana Jankovic, at a rock concert in Vancouver in 2009. The couple have two children, a 19-month old girl named Olivia and a baby boy named Liam, born just a few weeks ago.

Having two children under the age of 2 “is like having 30,” he says. “It’s like running a pre-school. Good thing I married a doctor.”

The new boy only has eyes for his mom, says the 45-year-old actor. “When you’re not lactating, you’re not interesting.”

Weatherly is part of what his co-star, Pauley Perrette (forensic specialist Abby Sciuto), calls the “Core Four” of the series. She, Weatherly, Harmon and veteran actor David McCallum (chief medical examiner David “Ducky” Mallard) have been with the popular drama all 11 seasons.

Perrette told reporters she got the news de Pablo was leaving one morning when she woke up to several text messages from fellow cast members and producers. “I thought somebody died,” she said. She called Harmon first and got the news.

“At the end of the day, not only can you not make decisions for other people, but often you can’t understand theirs,” says Perrette, who says she would not leave her “dream job” under any circumstances. “Part of the problem with the rest of us being left or saddled with answering this question to other people is that it’s really not an answer.”

There’s no cover-up, there’s no drama, “I guess it was just a life decision,” says Perrette.

Weatherly says he’s looking forward to his character’s own “lightning bolt moment” on the series. Fans should not be surprised to see DiNozzo settling down. It may even be time — as Weatherly’s “dad” on the series, Robert Wagner, apparently suggested — for some little DiNozzos. “I think the dude is ready for some love,” Weatherly says.

Asked what he thought de Pablo should do next, Weatherly, once again, went for the funny.

“I’d put her in a space suit: a very tight space suit,” he says. “Oh, oh, somebody just optioned that. We just sold, ‘Sci-Fi Ziva.’”

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Posted by Admin on November 5th, 2013


Back when “NCIS” started, Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon) seemed to be estranged from his father Jackson (Ralph Waite). That is until the episode where a case require Gibbs to return to his hometown — and the two men came to a better understanding.

On tonight’s episode, things have progressed to the point where Gibbs actually leaves an NCIS investigation in the middle of solving the murder of a dead Marine Sergeant to help his father, who needs to reconnect with a former war pilot.

“He doesn’t walk away from the case,” executive producer/showrunner Gary Glasberg tells xfinityTV in this exclusive interview. “He stays in touch. He is on the phone with them the whole time. The thing that is going on here is there is something that is very significant to his father, and it is made clear that it is significant, and that Gibbs has to help with it. He recognizes how important it is to Jackson and ends up doing double duty.”

Another interesting event is that despite the fact that Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly) has seniority over Tim McGee (Sean Murray) — and was considered competent enough by NCIS Director Jenny Shepherd (Lauren Holly) when she was in charge to be offered a promotion to head his own team — the two men bicker over who should lead the investigation in Gibbs’ absence.

“There is some really fun, brotherly sparing that goes on in this episode,” Glasberg says. “One of the things that Ziva’s (Cote de Pablo) absence has allowed us to do is have fun with the two of them, and let them run with some storylines and the way their characters behave. This was an opportunity to embrace that, have fun with it, and let McGee and Tony go at it.”

Of course, the first thing that comes to mind is that McGee has doubts about Tony’s competence because of the latter’s current issue with sleep deprivation. But Tony finally fell asleep at the office at the end of last week’s episode, and hasn’t had an issue since. But that doesn’t mean that he won’t still display some complexities of character caused by Ziva’s departure, but that will figure more into next Tuesday’s episode, according to Glasberg.

The last few weeks have seen temporary additions to the team — Vera Strickland (Roma Maffia), Agent Borin [Diane Neal] from the Coast Guard, and even McGee’s girlfriend Delilah Fielding (Margo Harshman) have all helped with cases, but this week, it’s just the boys.

Which means we will have to wait until the Nov. 19 episode, “Gut Check,” for the new, permanent addition to the team, as that is when Emily Wickersham will come aboard as NSA Analyst Eleanor “Ellie” Bishop, who is similar to a Carrie Mathison in her brilliant deductions — but without the bipolar disorder.

Glasberg also revealed that there will be a special Christmas episode, entitled “Homesick,” airing on Dec. 17, which will revisit what is going on with NCIS Director Leon Vance (Rocky Carroll) since the death of his wife.

“Then there is an interesting, really solid, good story about a virus that is getting military families sick,” Glasberg says. “It sounds really dark, but it makes for a good backdrop for the Christmas episode and focuses on Abby Sciuto (Pauley Perrette) working with her friend Meredith Eaton, who plays Carol Wilson, and Palmer (Brian Dietzen). They are all putting their heads together in the lab to try to get to the bottom of what is happening.”

“The Better Angels” episode of “NCIS” airs Tuesday, Nov. 5 at 8/7c on CBS.

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Posted by Admin on October 15th, 2013


Mark Harmon and Michael Weatherly Preview an NCIS Flashback

On a nearly 100-degree day in Los Angeles, drought-stricken Griffith Park stands in for Baltimore in the fall. The NCIS cast members on hand are sweating it, since they’re all wearing their agency jackets. Michael Weatherly (aka Tony DiNozzo) has it the worst, since he has to sprint up and down hills after a suspect.

In the next setup, he’s standing over a corpse, trying not to drip sweat on the poor actor who’s playing dead. “Can a dead body get a sunburn?” he ad-libs. The line stays in. After the cameras stop, Weatherly compliments his other scene partner on his deadpan reaction. “I love it when I say that and look up at you,” he tells Mark Harmon (Leroy Jethro Gibbs). “Nobody does that slow burn like you.”

Gibbs will be absent from some of this episode, “Once a Crook” (airing Oct. 22), because much of it consists of a flashback to DiNozzo’s days as a Baltimore street cop. (Their characters first collided in a previous time-warp episode, “Baltimore”; the 1998 flashbacks in this installment predate that.) Yet the story should shed light on the relationship these two have now and further solve the mystery of why a stoic man like Gibbs picked a cutup like DiNozzo to be his No. 1 son on the NCIS team.

A few weeks later, we caught up with Harmon, Weatherly and executive producer Gary Glasberg in the much less humid writers’ room.

TV Guide Magazine: Fans are never more excited than when they hear NCIS is doing a flashback. Will this episode provide psychological insight into Tony?
Weatherly: For me, the most interesting part of this episode was how I didn’t realize until we were shooting the flashback scenes that Tony used to be quite earnest, focused and almost without any defense mechanisms. I’m like, “Oh, this is before. He was a movie buff, but it hadn’t become [a major] part of his personality yet.”
Glasberg: You get to see some formative moments for Tony that got him to the point where he is now. Clearly something started to shift with his interests in law enforcement, taking it from the cop stage to the detective stage to ultimately what drew him to NCIS. Maybe there’s still a piece missing that we’ll get to later on.
Weatherly: There’s a reason Gibbs picked Tony to be in his world. We saw part of that in the “Baltimore” episode, but what this episode shows is more how these guys have a shared understanding of the job. There’s a photo behind Gibbs’s desk, which is actually of a character Mark played a long time ago in [the short-lived series] 240-Robert. As we were getting ready to do this episode, I was looking at this picture of Mark. I stole his haircut from 240-Robert. [To Harmon] I hope you don’t mind! I didn’t look quite as good as you looked back then in the tight shirt.
Harmon: By the time we started doing flashbacks, which was a number of years in, we’d earned it. Certainly as an actor you have more to grip on to. It’s interesting to hear Michael talk about how, when he played this guy in this episode, he learned he was earnest, traditional and calm in the heat of action — a lot like the guy who plays him. But those are choices he can make 11 years in that he couldn’t have made in Year 1. There’s still a ton of mystery to the characters, and still a lot of growth, too.

TV Guide Magazine: When we interviewed Cote de Pablo about leaving the show, she said that, speaking as a fan herself, if her sudden departure created opportunities to do shocking things or create new casting opportunities, that was great.
Harmon: Aw, gee, that’s nice of her! [Laughs]
Glasberg: This is a staff and cast that respond to being thrown something they weren’t expecting. I couldn’t be more enthusiastic, honestly, with where we’re headed this season. I’m really excited about Emily Wickersham [who will play Bishop, an NSA intelligence analyst, starting in November]. I almost used the word reenergized. It’s not that we weren’t energized before, but it’s good when somebody lights a fire that you weren’t expecting.
Weatherly: It’s been an incredible experience to feel everybody lock into a newish rhythm that feels surprisingly comfortable and classic NCIS. I’m elated by the energy that comes out of this place, and every guest star who comes through is like solid gold.

TV Guide Magazine: Every possible twosome on the show carries a certain intrigue, but maybe none more so than the mentor-mentee dynamic between Gibbs and DiNozzo. Do you agree?
Weatherly: It’s why I come to work. The great gift of “Baltimore” was that I got to tackle Mark — given his real-life history [as a star UCLA quarterback]. Then I turned him over to cuff him and he punched me in the face! And yet it wasn’t antagonistic. Those characters are both only children, I believe, and there’s a loneliness to Gibbs. He’s a sniper. He’s somebody who’s in his own world. And that’s something with Tony, too. They line up a little bit, even though they’re wildly, photonegatively different — you would think.
Glasberg: The more years that go by, the stronger the understanding between these two fantastic actors. There are little things I pick up on in the editing room — I’ll see a response that works with just a look, where maybe earlier it may have required a line. That nuance is fun for me.
Weatherly: I remember the first time I ever said “Thank you” after a head slap. Which was an instinctive, unscripted moment of silliness that got a laugh in rehearsal, so it stayed in. And then, as I thought about it, I was like, “You know what? That’s really true!” DiNozzo is like, “Thank you for reminding me to get my head back in the game.” He needs Gibbs that way.

For more on NCIS, pick up this week’s issue of TV Guide Magazine, on newsstands Thursday, Oct. 17!

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