NEXT ON NCIS: Los Angeles
10×1 - "To Live and Die in Mexico” - Gravely injured and unable to communicate with the team in the U.S., Callen, Sam and Kensi, with an unconscious Deeks in tow, search for a safe way home as a cartel boss places a “dead or alive” bounty on their heads. Also, Mosely and retired Navy Admiral Hollace Kilbride (Gerald McRaney) beseech their contacts in Mexico and D.C. for assistance with their missing colleagues, on NCIS: LOS ANGELES, Sunday (9:30-10:30, ET/PT) on CBS.
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admin / October 16th, 2013   Articles,Interviews,News,Spoilers

As the spinoff of a spinoff hits 100 episodes, the mastermind behind the CBS ratings juggernaut tells THR how he keeps the series fresh.

By the show’s 100th episode, season five’s “Reznikov, N.,” the cast has their roles down. But in the beginning, prep work included “meeting with real NCIS agents and going to shooting ranges,” says O’Donnell (fourth from right). Now “we have amazing on-set technical advisers who keep an eye on us.”

Who would have thought a spinoff of a spinoff would reach 100?

NCIS: Los Angeles, the No. 2 drama behind CBS juggernaut NCIS, has managed that feat. In 2009, NCIS: LA debuted as a two-part episode of NCIS (itself a spin­off of the successful 1995-2005 series JAG), introducing the sunny world of the L.A.-based Office of Special Projects, a division of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service that specializes in undercover ops. Big names Chris O’Donnell and LL Cool J were immediately attracted.

“I became fully aware of just how tough it is to get a show to ‘work,’ having had a few misfires in previous years,” says O’Donnell, 43, who plays Special Agent G. Callen, likely referring to his failed 2005 Fox comedy Head Cases. “Todd [LL Cool J] was in the same boat, and we looked at each other and said, ‘Let’s do everything we can to make this work. We know it’s a crapshoot, but let’s not have any regrets over preparation or focus.’ ”

The focus paid off. NCIS: LA has averaged more than 18 million viewers in the past three seasons, according to live-plus-7 data. “Fortunately, people responded to the chemistry on the show,” O’Donnell says of the ensemble, which includes Linda Hunt. “As Todd says, ‘Teamwork makes the dream work.’ ”


NCIS: LA focuses on military crimes, which means the writing staff keeps up on current events, both domestic and abroad, for story ideas. Sometimes they’re ahead of the game: Early episodes included a chemical technology that Feds sprayed on suspects to identify them — its real-life counterpart has since become classified — as well as a plot centered on terrorist group Al-Shabaab, which in September claimed responsibility for a deadly Kenyan mall attack.


“Characters have to keep moving,” Brennan says, whether it’s through breakups or big revelations. Eric Christian Olsen, who joined as a recurring guest star in season one as Detective Marty Deeks, made a big impression at the end of his three-episode arc — in his “goodbye” scene to Junior Special Agent Kensi Blye (Daniela Ruah), he was insouciantly resting on a car hood: “Fans really liked that and began asking, ‘When is he coming back?’ ”

The mystery of G. Callen’s identity remains a compelling question, which Brennan promises is partially answered in episode 100. “It’s Chris O’Donnell’s best work yet.”


Brennan told location managers at series launch that he wanted to film “at every iconic L.A. location” possible. Since 2009, NCIS: LA has featured Venice Beach, the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the legendary Hollywood Bowl. “People in L.A. can identify when locations are fake,” Brennan says.


Probably “40 percent of TV on broadcast is procedurals,” Brennan says, “so you’re competing with others.” How to stand out? “One of the ways NCIS: LA is different,” says Brennan, “is it’s played out in the high stakes arena of national security.” He also relies on character growth and storylines: “I think we’re the best at doing that.”


admin / October 16th, 2013   Articles,News,Spoilers

Question: Got any scoop on NCIS: LA Deeks/Kensi? —Katie
It’s time for another round of “Is This Just a Coincidence or Am I Onto Something?” Earlier this week, NCIS: LA EP Shane Brennan told Matt Mitovich that “there’s quite a shocking moment in Episode 10 that throws everything awry, and then for the next eight or so episodes Kensi and Deeks’ relationship is in some serious trouble.” Curiously, it’s also around Episode 10 that the show is introducing a new (possibly recurring) ”physically capable” American female agent, and two Middle Eastern male agents. Now, I ask you: Is this just a coincidence or am I onto something? (Mitovich votes for the latter, theorizing that Kensi will take a very dangerous off-grid assignment in the Middle East that sets up Daniela Ruah’s forthcoming maternity leave.)


admin / October 16th, 2013   Articles,News,Spoilers

Got any more news about Kensi and Deeks’ relationship on NCIS: Los Angeles? — Brittney
Executive producer Shane Brennan says he plans to stretch that story out for most of the season, noting that the couple will talk around their feelings rather than dealing with them, which could lead to trouble. “It comes to a head, and it has some pretty devastating consequences,” Brennan teases. “There’s a revelation … about Kensi that is quite shocking.” But before you ask, it has nothing to do with Daniela Ruah’s real-life pregnancy. “I will put to rest any suggestion that Kensi is carrying Deeks’ baby,” Brennan says.


admin / October 15th, 2013   Articles,News,Sneak Peek,Spoilers

Just because Daniela Ruah has a baby on board doesn’t mean her NCIS: LA counterpart will as well. In fact, says exec producer Shane Brennan, if all goes according to plan, viewers won’t even be able to tell that Ruah is carrying around more than just her gun these days.

“We won’t be referencing the fact that Dani is pregnant on the show at all,” he says. “And through the magic of television and with great editing and acting and great story lines, the audience won’t even know she’s pregnant. “

Additionally, he said, his current plans to pack this season with plenty of Kensi and Deeks remains largely unaffected. “Anyone who has followed their relationship is in for a pretty interesting ride,” he says. “There’s going to be a lot revealed about their relationship. It’s going to go beyond the kiss and it’s going to have some pretty amazing ramifications for both of them. And just when you think it might have sorted itself out, late in the season, there is a revelation, about the two of them, I guess — but in particular about Kensi — that will totally rock their relationship.”

The surprise, he says, has been in the works since season 1, “and it’s been sitting there quietly ticking,” he says. “It’s a great arc. Yes, we’ve had to adapt a little because Dani is pregnant, but as a result, it’s become an even more powerful journey for both of them this season.” (Bonus: Check out a sneak peek of episode 100 here.)


admin / October 14th, 2013   Articles,Interviews,News,Sneak Peek,Spoilers

This Tuesday at 9/8c, CBS’ NCIS: Los Angeles marks 100 episodes with a kidnapping case that involves someone very close to Agent Callen — he just doesn’t know it yet. Show boss Shane Brennan gave TVLine a preview of the “very powerful” and moving Callen-centric hour and the bombshell it threatens to drop.

TVLINE | When did you know exactly what you wanted to do with Episode 100?
If you go back to the beginning of Season 2, the very first episode, there’s a moment in there that I set up and we in fact we deliver in the hundredth episode. What was really interesting in looking at the hundredth episode, because it’s obviously Callen-centric, was the amount of his backstory that we covered in those other 75 episodes. It’s very rewarding as a writer to have the opportunity to fill out someone’s story like this, as it just keeps getting bigger, and bigger, and bigger, and it’s really, really fulfilling for the actors to be able to take all of that backstory and focus it in on this one episode. Everyone who’s seen it, the first thing they say — every time and without exception — is, “This is Chris O’Donnell’s best work.” He is fantastic in this episode. It’s very powerful and you will be affected by the ending. You really will.

TVLINE | When the script for an episode like this starts circulating to the cast, does Chris ever, like, pick up the phone or get a message to you saying, “Shane, this is dynamite”?
It does happen. Chris is just an absolute professional. He comes prepared every day, he’s someone who walks in and knows his material. But beyond being word-perfect, he is right inside the character and the moment, and understands where it comes from. In a particular episode, he might reference something that happened 25 episodes ago, he’s just masterful at it. And so, yeah, when he saw this script he said, “Wow” – and it was the wow of, “I can’t wait to get into this because it’s big, it’s tough, I’m going to have to work really hard as an actor. This is challenging, and I love that challenge.” And he absolutely delivered.

TVLINE | And in this episode you’re not just dangling any new piece of the Callen puzzle in front of us. You’re introducing someone who could possibly be his father?

There is a line in the episode where a particular man says, “I am your father.” So, yeah, it was a really interesting episode to write. The production crew just totally nailed it, and there are some great action sequences in it. If you watch the first minute of the show [embedded below], you will have to watch the rest. After the credits, we go back eight hours and you’ll see the day unfold, taking us back up to that point. The first minute of the show is very shocking — two of our people, we don’t know if they’re dead or alive.

TVLINE | The Comescu clan rears its head again, like a bad penny. Reznikov, N.Who does this latest wrinkle agitate more, Callen or possibly Hetty?

It certainly agitates both of them — Hetty for the reason that she doesn’t want Callen to know what’s going on. And when Callen then sort of breaks protocol a little, Hetty is very concerned about that. It’s one thing to go to Romania and poke the hornet’s nest. It’s another thing to have the hornet’s nest drop into your lap in L.A.

TVLINE | You told me at the start of this season that you were going to be doing something that a show like this doesn’t necessarily do a lot, with Kensi and Deeks — and sure enough, these past few weeks caught me off guard. You really are doing some interesting character work with those two.
Well, they’re such interesting characters — the dynamic between them is really powerful and there’s amazing chemistry. There’s a fan base out there who love these kinds of relationships within series like this, and it’s always challenging to make it fresh and different.

TVLINE | But like I told Eric Christian Olsen over the summer, this is an instance where the female almost wanted it more than the male, that it was Deeks with his walls up.
It was a conscious decision on our part to do two things. One was to not to go down that path that you just described, and to be different. The other thing we wanted to do is to move the relationship, from time to time, and surprise the audience by how quickly things suddenly moved along. We’ve done that with that spontaneous kiss at the end of last season, and then putting Deeks in all of that jeopardy. The relationship now can’t go back to normal because things have changed, and we play that out through the first 10 episodes of the season in a fairly big way. Then there’s quite a shocking moment in Episode 10 that throws everything awry, and then for the next eight or so episodes it’s Kensi and Deeks and their relationship is in some serious trouble, and then there’s very much a big, big, big shock around Episode 18 for both of them, one that shakes their relationship again. This is definitely the season of Kensi and Deeks.

TVLINE | Do you care to rule out that either of the big shocks are dictated by Daniela Ruah’s real-life pregnancy?
I will definitely, and utterly, and totally rule that out. The pregnancy does not play into their storyline at all.

TVLINE | I was gonna say — I took health class, and it would take some magic.
Yeah. Let’s put that thought, rumor, suggestion to rest. Kensi is not carrying Deeks’ baby. She’s not carrying anyone’s baby on the screen.

TVLINE | Oh, good for saying that — because otherwise people would read between the lines.
Yeah, they might think it’s Callen’s!


admin / October 14th, 2013   Articles,Media,News,Sneak Peek,Spoilers

NCIS: Los Angeles reaches a notable accomplishment when its 100th episode airs this week.

In anticipation of the milestone, creator and executive producer Shane Brennan jumped on the phone to speak with TV Fanatic about this pivotal episode, “Reznikov, N.,” along with the next installment in Callen’s family history.

Check back after the episode airs for our full review and then on Wednesday for more from Brennan regarding what’s to come for Deeks and Kensi the rest of the season. And read on for excerpts from my exclusive Q&A with the producer…


TV Fanatic: Congratulations on 100 episodes. The show’s in syndication already, so what does this milestone mean for you?

Shane Brennan: What I hope is that anyone who has sampled the show in syndication will decide to come –and who hasn’t watched it on CBS — will come to CBS for the 100th episode and say “Wow. I’ve got to see how that all happened.”

The 100th episode pays off a lot, if not all, of the back stories that we’ve set up for Callen. This is an episode that I conceived way back at episode 25. So, I’ve been waiting 75 episodes to tell this story. It’s been a lot of fun building the puzzle. Every time we do a Callen story, there’s a little bit more in that story that reveals what’s about to unfold in the 100th episode.

Callen’s struggles with his identity and family history has been a continuous thread throughout the seasons. Why the decision to bring that back to the forefront in the 100th episode?

It actually goes back to the conception of the series. What struck me when I was talking to undercover NCIS agents — I went down to Washington and met a whole bunch of them –and I was looking for some sort of theme for the show and what struck me was it’s about identity. When you are undercover you are playing someone else. You have sometimes multiple identities and as a theme for one of our characters I thought that would be a good thing to give Callen.

Someone who is very good at being undercover because he’s been many different people because he doesn’t know who he really is, so each of the characters that he turns to — he dips into a well of all of these aliases and all of these people that he plays and they are all based on the foster homes that he spent time in. So, in each of those foster homes he tried to fit into the family by becoming one of them. So he had an unconscious training to be someone who is incredibly good undercover.

But the sad reality is that he still doesn’t know who he is. So for me, that was a great theme to play through this entire series with that character and what we’ve done where we can is reveal more and more about his back story and who he is. And, so his is a journey to discuss who he is in a very literal sense.

Will the”G” be revealed?

The “G” will finally be revealed. I’m not going to tell you whether it’s revealed in the 100th episode. There is someone in the episode who looks him in the eyes and says, “I am your father.”

Last season, it was revealed that Hetty had this group of orphans that she brought into NCIS and Callen was one of those. Will this story provide more insight into Hetty’s story at all?

It does in the sense that Callen is Hetty’s favorite. There’s no getting around that. There’s a responsibility that Hetty feels for Callen because Hetty knew his mother and feels some guilt and responsibility because she couldn’t get there. She didn’t get to that beach in Romania and Callen’s mother was killed in front of him.

There’s always been in Hetty’s mind a responsibility for this orphan. And, when it’s revealed that Callen’s father is alive and has been kidnapped, she is trying to protect him. She knows what he’s going to do. She knows how he’s going to respond and she tries to stop that from happening. She knows that he’s vulnerable when it’s personal. And, he does find himself.

What will be the 100th episode format?

The audience will watch the first minute and a half and they will have to watch the rest. We open the show with the end. And, then after the credits we begin eight hours earlier and then work our way through the episode up to that point. And, in the first minute and a half, you see that things have not gone well at all.

You don’t see Callen in that first 30 seconds, but you do see Sam and you do see Granger and things are as bad as they could possibly be. It’s a very powerful episode. It’s very, very powerful emotionally for Callen. And, the story just rockets along. There is a lot for everyone who has watched 99 episodes. There’s a lot for them to watch. It will be very satisfying for those audience members who have followed the show.

By the way, Chris O’Donnell in this episode — everyone who’s seen the episode they all say the same thing, “Chris is phenomenal.” This is the best work he’s done on the series. To give you an example, the last three minutes of the show, Chris is there by himself, he says two words in the whole three minutes. And, it’s the most powerful thing he’s ever done on the series. It’s fantastic to watch.

Will Callen be able to come out of it in a better place than he has been in most of his life?

Yeah. He does come out in a better place. As I said, those last three minutes are incredibly powerful. It’s very very very moving. You will feel good for Callen. It’s both sad and uplifting.

Here is a look at the first 90 seconds of the special episode


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