Callen and Sam are all wet in NCIS: LA Season 6 Episode 1… but not in a good way.
If you remember from NCIS: LA Season 5 Episode 24, the twosome ended the spring in a submarine, with their future looking anything but bright.
The season premiere picks up where we left off and – as series creator/executive producer Shane Brennan told me recently – the episode was quite the undertaking due to the use of a submarine, stunt work and, of course, water to contend with.
But what else is coming in the new season? Brennan had much to tease about Hetty’s big journey in the first few episodes and it seems we’re finally going to see some big emotional moments between Kensi and Deeks that could change their relationship as we know it. (One hint that Brennan offered: this potential romantic relationship won’t be dragged out the way DiNozzo and Ziva were on NCIS)
Let’s dive in, so to speak, to everything Brennan had to say we’ll see in NCIS: Los Angeles Season 6.
TV Fanatic: The premiere is really kick ass, I must say so my first question is what were the biggest challenges in shooting it??
Shane Brennan: Well there were two major challenges and the first was actually the submarine. We did in fact build the tank as well on the Paramount lot so it was a major undertaking. It’s probably one of the biggest set constructions we’ve done on the show and being able to flood it the way we did, all of the stunts that were involved, the water that came through the hull and the pressure, all of that stuff was a pretty big undertaking from everyone involved. And they did an amazing job. I mean, Chris and LL Cool J spent a lot of time wet making this episode…it’s a very big episode.
TVF: Without spoiling what actually happens, are there any repercussions from what happens in the premiere or is the chapter closed?
SB: Well the biggest repercussion to come out of the episode is what happens to Hetty. Hetty does end up in Washington. She cannot get away from that. And the next couple of episodes we find Hetty really under the microscope in Washington, in front of the Senate committee, Senate hearing, and she’s trying to explain to them how she runs her business. If people love Hetty, they are going to love these next two episodes following the premiere.
They are really, really strong episodes. In fact if you look at the season finale for season five, which was continued into the season premiere, the following two episodes from there are also episodes that are to be continued. So we had almost a four episode arc involving the sub and Hetty having to go to Washington and then Hetty’s faced with some pretty intense scrutiny.
TVF: Might that be an opportunity to maybe reveal a little more about her because there’s always so many questions about her past and even her past with Callen and other things?
SB: We reveal a lot about Hetty in these first three episodes. We reveal some pretty fun information, some pretty surprising information and for Hetty it’s not without its heartbreak. We see a return of someone from her past in a fairly major return, so it’s a very Hetty-centric sort of couple episodes after the premiere. The fans are going to love it.
NCIS: Los Angeles Season 6 Premiere Promo
TVF: Tell me where we’re going with Talia being in the mix and this potential triangle with Kensi and Deeks. There are some great scenes in this first episode with them.
SB: Yeah, Mercedes Masohn is just fabulous as Talia. We had such a good time with her last season we said we’re going to bring her back. And the relationship the chemistry between her and Kensi on screen, it’s fabulous. She’s a fun character and we’ll be seeing more of her.
I can tell you that there are some very emotional moments coming up in these first three episodes. There’s one particular moment that is very, very emotional between Kensi and Deeks. I won’t say any more about it other than that but it’s probably one of the most emotional scenes we’ve had on the show actually. That’s something for people to look out for. It is a very powerful moment. It’s kind of heart wrenching.
TVF: Will it change their relationship in a big way?
SB: I won’t answer that. [laughs] It’s an interesting thing because in the moment it may not necessarily, but you have to believe that such a powerful moment, emotional moment between the two of them will have some impact on their future relationship.
TVF: Beale is one of my favorite characters. And I’ve seen Barrett Foa sing. He’s really amazing.
SB: And he can sing. That may happen at some point. I’m not planning it, but at some point we use everyone’s skills.
TVF: What’s Beale’s piece of the new season?
SB: No one else could play Eric Beale but [Barrett]. He’s just fabulous in that role. The relationship that he has had with Nell really caught us all off guard. There’s a great sort of chemistry between the two of them and we’re always looking for opportunities to play that. There are some fun moments for Beale in these first half dozen episodes. He’s actually out in the field at one point so we get him out of the box and we’re always looking for opportunities to explore what Barrett can do because he’s such a fine actor.
TVF: Everything you’ve told me so far, I would say the first half of the season is more of an emotional journey for everybody than it has been in the past. Do you see it that way?
SB: Yeah, we had been slow with the emotional. We have an action sort of fun show but we don’t steer away from the emotional stuff at all. If we feel the characters are going in that direction we’re very happy to explore it. We’re not scared of exploring it. In terms of the Kensi/Deeks relationship we’re not going to do a DiNozzo/Ziva [from NCIS]. We’re not going to do that. We’re going to explore the relationship to its fullest.
I know people can get a little impatient with those things but you can’t rush into any of this sort of stuff because the audience has to see the journey. The have to see the decision making that goes into a relationship and why some things happen and other things don’t. You can’t just leap to it because it doesn’t feel true. And what we’re trying to do with these characters is explore their relationship in a very honest and true way and that can take time because that’s what happens when you have these sorts of relationships take place at work. You have to be very careful with them so there’s a lot more that come in the Kensi/Deeks relationship, not just this season, but next season too.
We also have for Sam a big surprise coming for him later in the season. And we have a pretty big step up in the Callen story later this season as well and we will certainly be playing a little bit more of Callen backstory and some interesting romantic shifts in his life, too.
TVF: I was going to say, are these more personal stories or more professional stories or a little bit of both?
SB: It’s a little bit of both. I mean the fun we have when we work on the show is finding ways to, as I said, explore these characters in what is sort of a fun action escapist type of show and the cast is just so damn good. You can’t resist writing the material because you know they’re going to deliver it. It really is quite extraordinary how they step up to the challenge and how they can sell a big emotional arc in what is a fun action show.
TVF: Let me ask you just about the day shift to Monday nights. How do you feel about that and being away from the Mothership for the first time on the schedule?
SB: Well look, I think NCIS: Los Angeles is so different for NCIS and then when I created the show that was the mandate I gave myself. I didn’t want a clone of NCIS. I wanted it to be different. I think we provide for people who watch NCIS, it’s kind of a flipside of the coin. Let’s go to LA and see what’s happening.
So I think moving to Monday night, that audience we’ve had for almost since the first episode, we’ve had a hardcore group of people who watch the show and they’re going to find the show on Monday night at ten o’clock. I’m not concerned about that at all. In terms of standing alone, we’re following the show called Scorpion, which is a really great, serious show that’s got a lot of fun and action and it’s young and I think they’re great companion pieces together.
NCIS:LA premieres tonight in its new Monday at 10/9c time slot on CBS.
NCIS: LA Boss Previews Callen and Sam’s Suicide Mission, Hetty’s Tragic Loss, a ‘Dramatic’ Return and More
The Season 5 finale of CBS’ NCIS: Los Angeles — as it was titled — left Sam and Callen in “Deep Trouble,” locked inside a small sub rigged with explosives and headed for a target unknown, and with no way to contact their colleagues. Hetty meanwhile pulled another of her disappearing acts, and Deeks realized that three is most definitely a crowd.
TVLine invited showrunner Shane Brennan to teases the Season 6 premiere — airing Sept. 29, in its new Mondays-at-10/9c time slot – and beyond.
TVLINE | Where do things pick up with the premiere? Are you going to, like, show us that everything’s fine and dandy then do “24 Hours Earlier…,” or are you jumping right in where we left off?
We jump right in. We left Sam and Callen stuck in a drug cartel sub that was…
TVLINE | Filled to the gills with ammonium nitrate.
… and we come back right on top of it. It’s just continuous action. It’s a very, very intense opening episode, and at one point both Callen and Sam realize that in order to stop what they’ve discovered is a terrorist attack, they will have to, in fact, die. So it’s pretty full on.
TVLINE | “Assuming” here that Sam and Callen survive, what is the big question surrounding the premiere?
The big question is: How the hell are they going to get out of this? But there are a number of questions, you know. We left a bit of a mystery at the end of last season as to what was actually going on with these terrorists, including: What’s their target? And it’s a very credible target. When Sam and Callen discover that, they realize that they’ve got to stop this thing from happening, but they’re totally isolated. They’re fighting a losing battle. Meanwhile, back at Ops, the question for Granger and for Hetty is: How do we stop it the Navy from taking unilateral action to stop the terrorists?
TVLINE | Because we all know how that can shake out – “We’ll blow it up even if it means sacrificing two of our guys for the greater good.”
Exactly, and it puts them all under really intense pressure. Kensi and Deeks, meanwhile, are sort of tracking down as much information as they can, while both having their moments with Talia (returning guest star Mercedes Masohn).
TVLINE | Yeah. I’ve heard that as provocative as the finale was, it perhaps doesn’t compare to the events of the premiere. Is that true?
If you like Kensi and Deeks, and you’re intrigued by Talia, you are in for a kind of pretty full-on moment. And what’s great about it is there’s a particular moment between Kensi and TaliaNCIS LA Season 6 Spoilers that is resolved beautifully, in terms of the way the characters resolve their personal relationship and the way the two of them then have fun with Deeks. There’s a lot fun for Kensi/Deeks fans in this one. There really is.
TVLINE | Outside of titillating us a bit, what larger purpose does thrusting Talia into this situation serve for the show?
It makes Kensi, particularly, focus on her relationship with Deeks. Because Talia poses some questions of her own to Kensi that makes Kensi stop and think. She also gives Kensi some, let’s call it, “unasked-for advice.”
TVLINE | Oh, so is Mercedes around for more than the premiere?
She is around for a little bit more. And there’s always a possibility she may well return deeper into the season as well.
TVLINE | The finale left Hetty’s fate in question, and it’s not the first time you’ve ended a season that way. How is it different this time around?
Well, this time we actually take it much further. Spread over the first three episodes of this season, the story takes Hetty to Washington, where she faces some very hostile questioning from a Senate committee trying to get to the truth of what happened in Afghanistan and whether Hetty was acting outside her job description, so to speak. And then we discover there’s more to this, that in fact Hetty is being targeted by someone. And that actually puts her life in danger. And someone very close to her — someone we actually don’t know anything about, really, but someone very close to her — dies as a result of all of this. We actually see Hetty reaching a point where she cannot resolve the situation herself. She can take certain things a long way up the chain of command, but eventually, they hit a wall and she can’t do any more than what she’s done.
TVLINE | Is there any kind of serialized arc going on this season? Any recurring Big Bad?
As we get deeper into the season, there is a recurring character that we’ve met a number of times over the course of this show who’s not so much a bad guy, but he’s not necessarily a good guy, either. He’s in this sort of gray area. And he makes a fairly dramatic return, and that then sparks a longer story arc that involves Callen in a pretty serious way.
TVLINE | But you want to keep that identity under wraps for now?
Yeah. I want to keep that one under wraps until a bit later in the season.
TVLINE | Any dollops of character backstories during the early season?
We have someone who would be familiar with fans of NCIS – Leon Vance (played by Rocky Carroll) — popping into the show in the first three, and that should be a lot of fun. And we’ve got some really interesting stuff coming through with Callen, and relationship with Katie. Also, a mystery woman comes into the show. There are a lot of intrigues this season.
TVLINE | Does that “mystery woman” tie into one of my next questions, about perhaps a romantic interest for Callen?
Romance is definitely on the cards for Callen this season, and from an unexpected quarter.
TVLINE | What about Nell and/or Eric? What’s on tap for either of them?
Well, Nell finds herself in a pretty dangerous situation pretty early on in the season, and it has to do with Hetty. As everyone who’s watched the show knows, Nell and Hetty have a special relationship.
TVLINE | Yeah, they had a couple great moments in the finale.
Well, they’re in for some surprises in the first and second episode. In the third, too, but particularly the second episode. Nell comes to Hetty’s rescue in a very interesting way. As for the relationship between Nell and Eric, we’re still exploring that in small ways, I guess, from episode to episode, but I am looking to do a little more with their relationship later this season. There’s another step or another stage, perhaps, in their relationship that we are really looking forward to exploring, and it should be a lot of fun when we take that step.
TVLINE | With the new time slot, are you looking to make the show maybe a bit noisier, to give people who aren’t familiar with it that extra reason to check it out on Monday nights?
You know, one of the great things about our show — and this goes right across the board, to the writers, the cast, the crew – is that we have always done it at 100 percent. We’ve never backed off on anything, and we’re not backing off now in any way. We are going to try to make it as noisy as we possibly can, but for fans of the show who are concerned that the show may change by going to 10 pm, they’re going to be relieved to know that it will still be the same show that they’ve loved. And anyone new who comes to the show who has the habit of watching CBS at 10 o’clock on a Monday, they’re going to be rewarded with a really intriguing show.
DIRECTOR LEON VANCE GIVES HETTY SOME SHOCKING NEWS WHILE SHE IS UNDER INVESTIGATION IN D.C., AND NELL GOES UNDERCOVER AS HETTY TO PROTECT ONE OF THEIR OWN, ON “NCIS: LOS ANGELES,” MONDAY, OCT. 13
“NCIS” Star Rocky Carroll Guest Stars as Director Leon Vance
“Praesidium” – The NCIS: LA team takes action to protect one of their own while being interrogated by the Department of Justice. Meanwhile, Nell goes undercover as Hetty, and Director Leon Vance gives Hetty disturbing news while she is in Washington, on NCIS: LOS ANGELES, Monday, Oct. 13 (9:59-11:00 PM, ET/PT), on the CBS Television Network.
CHEAT TWEET: What disturbing news does #NCIS guest star @RockyCOfficial give #Hetty? Find out on #NCISLA 10/13 9:59pm #CBS
As CBS’ NCIS: Los Angeles uncorks Season 6 — premiering Sept. 29, in its shiny, new Mondays-at-10/9c time slot — it appears that Hetty’s trip to Washington, D.C. may be (gulp) a one-way trip.
As showrunner Shane Brennan shared during our Fall Preview Q&A, “The story takes Hetty to Washington, where she faces some very hostile questioning from a Senate committee trying to get to the truth of what happened in Afghanistan and whether Hetty was acting outside her job description, so to speak. And then we discover there’s more to this, that in fact Hetty is being targeted by someone. And that actually puts her life in danger.”
Indeed, based on the exclusive promo above, it looks like that ominous “someone” has hit their target’s bull’s-eye — and as you well know, that the team back in L.A. won’t stand for their Hetty being hurt!
THE NCIS: LA TEAM DISCOVERS ONE OF THEIR OWN IS COMPROMISED WHEN THEY INVESTIGATE THE MURDER OF A NAVY CONTRACTOR INVOLVED WITH SELLING HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL DATA, ON “NCIS: LOS ANGELES,” MONDAY, OCT. 6
“Inelegant Heart” – The NCIS: LA team discovers that one of their own is compromised when they investigate the murder of a Navy contractor involved in illegal transactions of confidential data. Meanwhile, Hetty is under investigation in Washington, D.C., when the Department of Justice arrives in L.A. to investigate the team, on NCIS: LOS ANGELES, Monday, Oct. 6 (9:59-11:00, ET/PT), on the CBS Television Network
CHEAT TWEET: The #NCISLA team is in trouble when the DOJ arrives 2 conduct an investigation when Hetty is in DC 10/6 9:59pm #CBS
Any Season 6 scoop on NCIS: LA’s Nell?—Paul
Anyone who enjoyed the Nell/Hetty moment in the season finale “is in for some surprises in the first and second episode, and the third, too,” showrunner Shane Brennan told me. “Nell comes to Hetty’s rescue in a very interesting way.”