Bill Keveney, USA TODAY
CIS is putting a familiar face in charge of its New Orleans office: Scott Bakula.
Bakula, best known for his work in NBC's Quantum Leap, has been cast as special agent Pride in the two-episode arc that will serve as the template for a potential spinoff series set in New Orleans.
His character is described by the network as a unique man for a unique city, one who "embodies New Orleans. He's driven by the need to do what's right and does it all with warmth, passion, strength and humor."
Bakula appears in the new HBO dramedy, Looking, as well as last year''s Behind the Candelabra, and co-starred in TNT's Men of a Certain Age.
In the two episodes of the 11th-year CBS drama, NCIS special agent Gibbs (Mark Harmon) will be in contact with Pride, a friend from their days in the earlier Naval Investigative Service, after the death of a mutual friend who also was an agent, executive producer Gary Glasberg said in a January interview.
Casting has not been announced for Pride's New Orleans subordinates, who include the "no-nonsense (Brody), a government-employee façade on an Ivy League mind (and) Grace Kelly-like in her class, pomp and circumstance" and LaSalle, a local man and former sheriff's deputy who has "been through some rough times," according to the casting description. An outspoken female medical examiner, Dr. Wade, works with the unit.
The episodes are expected to be filmed in late February and early March and run in the spring. Most of the filming will take place on the NCIS set near Los Angeles, with four or five days of shooting in New Orleans. Harmon, who also is an executive producer of the spinoff project, will travel to Louisiana for filming.
"We're going to try to highlight as much as we can, from the bayou all the way into the music clubs," Glasberg said.
The two episodes of TV's top-rated series could result in a third NCIS series next season. NCIS: Los Angeles, now a high-rated drama in its fifth season, was spun off from episodes of NCIS, which focuses on the Washington, D.C., office. NCIS: Red, a proposed spinoff seeded in two episodes of NCIS: Los Angeles last season, was not picked up as a series.
If the New Orleans episodes lead to another series, Glasberg said he did not know how much of it would be shot in the Crescent City. "That's still kind of up in the air. But we would definitely do some significant filming there."