With Part 1 of its freshman finale, NCIS: Sydney uncorked quite the callback, by revealing that the “pregnant” woman who nearly got Mackey, Evie, Blue and dozens of others suffocated to death in an old bunker was in fact the blonde spy who eluded capture at the end of the series’ pilot.
Yet while it might seem as if Special Agent Mackey (Olivia Swann), Sergeant Jim “JD” Dempsey (Todd Lasance) et al now have the upper hand, the abduction of JD’s son Jack, in Part 2 of the finale (airing Tuesday at 8/7c on CBS), will thoroughly and harrowingly complicate matters. TVLine spoke with Lasance about JD’s imminent dilemma, Season 2’s “big finish” and his hopes for any possible Season 2.
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TVLINE | I have been enjoying the show, and the first part of the finale was gangbusters.
TODD LASANCE | Oh, thanks, brother. Honestly, and I don’t want to be biased, but I think [the finale] is going to be my favorite episode. And here’s a bit of an interesting note: one of my audition scenes was from the final episode. We had a couple of scenes from the first episode, but then some of the big, heavy, emotional stuff was in my audition scene before I even got the role. It was interesting to see how they had plotted that and where that scene ended up fitting in.
TVLINE | I enjoyed the reveal at the end of last week with Georgina Haig’s (Fringe, Once Upon a Time) character from Episode 1. Was it only in sitting down to read that script that you learned she was back?
Yes — though we had an understanding that there was going to be this through-line with the enemy [from the pilot]. One of the things I love about our series is that because it’s condensed into eight episodes, they can create these little breadcrumbs and little clues throughout that you don’t really realize are relevant to the case, and are insights into what’s going to be paid off at the end. I don’t think anyone would necessarily see it coming on that scale, and how it opens the doors to what the possibilities for a Season 2 could be.
TVLINE | Looking ahead to Part 2 of the finale, what kind of a prisoner is Georgina’s “Ana Niemus” going to be?
Oh, she’s not going to be a very compliant prisoner — that’s for sure. What I love about what Georgina did is there’s something under the surface that you know is unsettling. In the final shot of Episode 7 and the opening elements of Episode 8, you’re like, “Something’s not quite right here.” The team can sense it, as well. And when I played it as the actor, there’s an unsettling element for JD. When he’s watching her, you can see behind his eyes that he’s like, “Something’s not adding up.”
The payoff is huge in this episode. Even if, say, you haven’t watched NCIS ever in your life or never seen any of this season, this episode is such an amazing piece of what we did and what the showrunner and the writers and the directors did, as well. The tone of this show within NCIS is usually a lot more lighthearted and fun, so to delve into this kind of emotional realm was super exciting.
TVLINE | Talk about the personal element for JD that’s teased in the promos, involving Jack’s abduction.
Being a father myself — I have a daughter who’s 7, and we had our son while I was shooting [Season 1] — there was a lot going on for me, personally. What I love is where JD crosses the line between the badge and what’s right as far as law enforcement, and what it is to be a father and family man. It makes the audience question themselves: “What would you do? What would you sacrifice for the ones you love, whether it’s a brother, sister, son, daughter, best friend…? What would the lengths be that you’d go to, to protect them, to save them?” All while knowing you took that oath as a law enforcement member, and the obligations that go with that. But every decision that JD makes — and a lot of things do cross the line — I personally would also have done, too.
TVLINE | As also revealed in the promos, Mackey has JD’s back, like, “Do whatever you have to do,” which I thought was refreshing.
Yes! I love that teaser, as well, and that is just the tip of the iceberg. That’s the other exciting thing for the audience — they have no idea what’s coming, and I think that’s also why it’s my favorite episode and such a great way to finish on the show. Like, people will want to tune in for this one. This is the big finish with a big reveal.
TVLINE | Without spoiling anything, what kind of a cliffhanger will this finale leave us with? Are lives in jeopardy, or is going to be like, “I can’t believe what I just saw/heard”?
It’s everything. Lives are in jeopardy. “I can’t believe what I’ve just seen.” The enemy is revealed on such a larger scale than what I think people realize.
TVLINE | Morgan O’Neill, the showrunner, is from Sydney, but I’m wondering if for you as a fellow Australian, did the dialogue and slang always pass muster? Were you ever like, “I wouldn’t quite say this”? Or did you ever add in a little Australian flavor?
Adding is the biggest thing. Morgan’s writing has been phenomenal, and we also have separate writers who write each episode or a block of episodes. What’s been exciting for me, as an actor, is allowing to trust myself, but also Morgan trusting me with the improvisation that I add to a lot of the scenes, particularly with comedy. I like to see what I can get away with on-camera, and they tend to keep most of it in.
To add to the question that you’ve asked, the writers and Morgan actually start writing for you. They see the dynamic that you’re starting to bring, the little nuances, the comedy. Same with with Sean [Sagar as DeShawn]. He is funny, man, and we’ve got a great brotherhood in real life. Because of the improvisation that we bring as actors, they’re starting to write a bit more toward that. If we have series (seasons) onward from this, it’ll get even more nuanced, and that chemistry and characters will build even more.
TVLINE | I was building an Australian slang guide for our readers, and the moment that you said “take the piss,” I leaped onto Google, like, “What the hell does that mean?!”
Morgan even said, “We want people Googling.” My wife’s American, from Atlanta, and she’s pretty good with it now, but a couple of things, she was like, “Wait, I haven’t heard that one before.”
TVLINE | Do you have anything on your wish list for any possible Season 2? Like, do you want to know the results of the ladies’ Kiss-Marry-Kill game?
[Laughs] That’d be great. I’d love to know that one.
Obviously, I want [the finale’s big reveal] to come to fruition and we work all that stuff out, but I also want to get into action sequences again. I want to get into some shootouts, car chases, some big-scale action things, because that’s what NCIS is known for.
I also want to explore the family dynamic side of things. This is a dream series for me because I get to play with the comedy, with that cheeky “ribbing each other” element, and also be the straight cop/leader, and then I get to go with the emotional element of the relationship with the son and my ex-wife and the breakdown of that relationship. The sky’s the limit for us.
TVLINE | As we speak, we’re still waiting on any Season 2 news. What’s the best time of year to be shooting in Sydney? Isn’t it, like, 108 degrees for you all right now?
Look, I’m not going to lie. Where we are — I live in the Gold Coast — it is hot today, but it’s always hot and humid up here. I love it because it’s so tropical. I think mid-year is usually fairly controlled because it’s sort of winter, but our winter isn’t like Georgia’s or anything. It’s not, like, snowing in Sydney, so we can still get the beautiful days!
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