Laying claim to the NCIS desk that someone else previously occupied for nearly 200 episodes — and on TV’s most watched drama, no less — was a “very big thing” for actress Emily Wickersham. 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 crosses 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 a poll up on the site asking readers for their first impression of Bishop. Seventy-nine 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 that. I think it’ll be fun to see where Bishop comes from. She has three older brothers, which 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 that 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 fun weaknesses and faults that’ll pop out.
TVLINE | As an NSA analyst, her field experience has been an issue. Has she ever 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 NCIS viewers be surprised to know about the newest cast member of TV’s most watched drama?
Well, unlike my character, I’m very nervous. I mean, I guess Emily 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!
Source: TV Line
NCIS Emily Wickersham tells Craig about her dogs and her memory of when she was a baby on a kitchen counter.
NCIS is getting into the Halloween spirit, and ET was able to visit the set to talk to the cast about the prank-filled upcoming episode.
In the Halloween special, a mysterious prankster is causing mischief and mayhem all across the offices of NCIS, including wrapping McGee’s desk in plastic cling wrap and disorganizing the very fastidious Abby’s lab.
PICS: 10 Most Promising New Fall TV Shows
Meanwhile, the actual case that NCIS is trying to solve involves a suspicious explosion on the deck of an oil rig, meaning Coast Guard Investigative Service Special Agent Abigail Borin, played by the wonderful Diane Neal, is returning to assist the team.
Behind the scenes, the whole cast was in the Halloween spirit, and they talked to ET’s Brooke Anderson about the upcoming episode, and what it’s like working on such a popular show.
One tidbit revealed by show lead Mark Harmon is that perhaps there could be a new job opportunity for Special Agent Borin on the NCIS team in the future.
RELATED: NCIS – Inside Ziva’s Farewell
“I don’t know,” Neal said, teasing the possibility. “I think it would be a bit of a demotion for Abigail Borin. However, I don’t think it stops [the NCIS team] from trying. We shall see.”
Check out the video for more from the NCIS cast. Michael Weatherly, who plays Anthony DiNozzo, reveals who he is going to be for Halloween this year, Pauley Perrette, who plays Abby Sciuto, describes her worst costume ever, and Diane Neal gives a little behind-the-scenes info on the pranks she really plays on Weatherly off-screen.
NCIS’s Halloween episode Oil & Water airs Tuesday, October 29 at 8/7c on CBS.
The NCISLA CAst was yesterday at The Talk for the 100th Episode. Enjoy the videos (will upload the whole video to our videoarchive soon)
NCIS fans have long memories. They fondly recall the scene back in Season 4 when Ziva David, then still a visiting Mossad agent, announced to Tony DiNozzo, “I will kill you 18 different ways with this paper clip.” So when the woman who so engagingly played Ziva for eight seasons, Cote de Pablo, announced she was leaving the series, grief-stricken devotees sent paper clips to CBS in protest. But even that couldn’t keep Ziva attached.
“On a September day in New York, I’m looking out my balcony, and I still miss my family,” says de Pablo, thinking about not being on the Los Angeles set in the fall for the first time since 2005. “But they’re with me all the time, every day, and that won’t change.” De Pablo is speaking with TV Guide Magazine exclusively after her abrupt decision not to renew her contract just prior to the start of production on Season 11 (which kicks off Tuesday at 8/7c on CBS).
As for the fan outpouring, she says, “I was incredibly moved by the blind support people had without ever getting reasons as to why I left. People trusted that what I was doing was what I needed to do, and that’s unconditional love from people who don’t even know me. That’s been the most beautiful thing out of this process.”
The love de Pablo felt from fans is being returned in a farewell hour that airs Oct. 1 and is easily the most anticipated episode in the history of TV’s top-rated drama. It will finally provide some clarity to the long-simmering feelings between Ziva and Michael Weatherly‘s Tony DiNozzo. “As far as the ‘Tiva’ fans, they’ll get a resolution they’ve awaited for years,” she says. “There is a level of confession. And if it takes a big change like this to stir things up, it’s all for the better. I’m a fan of the show!”
Such mixed feelings may only deepen the mystery of why de Pablo left. Clearly, there was a last-minute impasse no one wants to discuss, beyond the network’s insistence that money wasn’t a factor. “As far as my decision to leave, that’s a personal thing, and I’d rather leave it at that,” she says. “The idea of leaving was not something I toyed around with for a long time. It was an overwhelmingly hard thing — at times terrifying.”
She has no grand scheme for doing a sitcom or movies. “Leaving NCIS was not planned, so there is no plan. If I were panicking now, it would defeat the purpose. I need to get really excited about something, because for eight years I was really excited about this character. I don’t want to start anything unless it’s like that.”
Bittersweet is the word she inevitably uses to describe how it felt to wrap up her storyline at the -beginning of Season 11. “Did I want to leave under those circumstances? That’s another story,” she says. “But I’m not of the belief that you just take off and leave fans hanging. A lot of people don’t get the privilege of going back to a set and being able to say goodbye to people. I left under my terms, and that was wonderful.”
The final shoot was “a beautiful day — a quiet, intimate set,” she says. “I’m horrible at saying goodbyes, because I’ve been saying goodbyes ever since I left my country [Chile] when I was 10, so even though I did not utter the word goodbye, I was able to hug them and let them know how much I loved them. And that’s all that matters.”
“We wanted to give her the most graceful, emotional payoff we could,” says exec producer Gary Glasberg. “It was a pretty magical moment. Cote took it and ran with it, and the emotion you’ll see on screen is very real.”
Ziva’s most intimate moments were with Tony, and de Pablo enthuses over “getting to close things off with my partner in crime, Michael. My first scene ever in the bullpen was with Michael, and my goodbye scene was with Michael. I feel like that was a beautiful way of ending — for now, certainly — a beautiful chapter between these two.”
Did she say “for now”? Although you get the feeling any reprise would be years in the future, de Pablo has a surprisingly hopeful, never-say-never answer when asked if she could ever return for a cameo or something bigger. “The greatest thing about this last episode is that Ziva doesn’t die,” she says. “As long as a character doesn’t die, the character can always come back. Not that it would actually matter, because we bring back characters from the dead all the time on NCIS!”
Notice her use of the present tense and the word we. De Pablo may be almost as reluctant to let go of Ziva as all those paper-clip wielders are.
Source: TV Guide