12:17pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'NCIS: New Orleans' Adds New Regular, Plans More Crossovers
CBS is expanding its NCIS universe this fall with its New Orleans-set spinoff, which hails from executive producers Gary Glasberg and star Mark Harmon. And while NCIS: New Orleans will focus on the crimes and explore the culture in its titular city, it's safe to expect to see stars from the flagship series head to the region.
NCIS: New Orleans stars Scott Bakula and first aired as a backdoor pilot from CBS' flagship series. It becomes the third show in the NCIS franchise, joining the mothership and NCIS: LA. NCIS' Gary Glasberg serves as showrunner on the CBS Television Studios entry, with Mark Harmon and Jeffrey Lieber on board as an exec producers. Zoe McLellan, CCH Pounder and Lucas Black co-star. NCIS: NOLA arrives a year after the network attempted and ultimately passed on Red, a spinoff of NCIS: LA.
Showrunner Glasberg told reporters Thursday at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour that the series is adding a new regular —played by Chasing Life's Rob Kerkovich — and is already planning to send stars Harmon, Michael Weatherly, Pauley Perrette and David McCallum for a crossover.
"We're planning an episode where Gibbs (Harmon) makes an appearance; there will be crossovers. Michael Weatherly, Pauley Perrette and David McCallum will be involved. That's the fun we have here with the interaction," he explained of the freshman spinoff that begins production this month on location in New Orleans. "As for when and how often, there's a lot that goes into planning and schedules and making sure Mark is here with NCIS but we'll keep the balls in the air and make it work as well as we can."
Added EP Lieber: "The worlds exist in the same place."
Meanwhile, Kerkovich will play forensic scientist Sebastian, who will be working alongside CCH Pounder's Dr. Wade, the Jefferson Parish Medical Examiner. The character is described as brilliant and awkward, yet comfortable in his own skin. He struggled to fit in somewhere and eventually found himself working for Homeland Security as a forensic counterterrorism analyst in New Orleans, where he fell in love with a city he fondly remembered from his childhood. Determined to return to New Orleans when an Interpol assignment came to an end, he found a lab tech job with the Jefferson Parish morgue, even though he's never been that comfortable around the dead.
Added star Bakula of the spinoff: "We have big shoes to follow. The hope is that we can get an audience to invest with us. We have to earn our audience. It's not a given. We have great guidance from this team."
NCIS: New Orleans debuts Tuesday, Sept. 23 at 9 p.m., after the season 12 bow of NCIS at 8 p.m.