NCIS: LA Boss Previews 'Red' Spin-Off, Mulls All-NCIS Tuesdays and Teases Kensi/Deeks Twist

NCIS Los Angeles Spinoff SpoilersThis Tuesday on NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS, 9/8c), a perplexing case in Idaho finds Callen & Co. collaborating on location with the “Red” team, in an two-parter that serves as a pilot episode for a new offshoot of the JAG/NCIS franchise.

Kim Raver (24) and John Corbett (Parenthood) lead the planted pilot’s ensemble, respectively playing Special Agent Paris, the athletic, witty and bold leader of the Red team, and Roy Quaid, a former Special Agent forced to retire from active service who now works as an analyst. Rounding out the mobile unit are Gillian Alexy (Damages) as brainiac/military junkie Clare, Scott Grimes (ER) as forensic specialist Dave and Edwin Hodge (Cougar Town) as Kai, the IT guy.

Showrunner Shane Brennan shared with TVLine a look at the origin of that which could become known as NCIS: Red, revealing along the way what NCIS: LA fans can look forward to in the coming weeks.

PHOTOS | ‘Red’ Alert: Your First Look at the NCIS: LA Spin-Off

TVLINE | How long ago did you get the first idea for this Red spinoff?
It was a couple of years ago, actually.

TVLINE | OK, because in January 2011, I asked [CBS president] Nina Tassler about a third NCIS, and she said, “No, no, no. Not yet.”
Well, I didn’t tell anyone that I had an idea until last year. It came out of a conversation I had when I was in Washington, D.C. at the real NCIS office, where I learned about these deployment teams that they have. Often, the studios and networks — and the fans, really – look for ways of getting to “go home” with the characters that they love. But once you set a show up, it’s very hard to do that in this fairly sort of strict genre, the crime procedural. The moment these guys started telling me about how they deploy as a team I thought, “Wow, here’s an opportunity to create a team of people and not go home with them because they’re already home. They eat, sleep and work together 24/7.”

TVLINE | In what scenario is a Red team deployed?
In our television world, they’re deployed across the country anywhere there’s a crime involving the Navy or the Marine Corps and where there are no NCIS field officers. NCIS obviously has a field office in all of the large ports where the Marines or Navy operate….

TVLINE | But if something goes down in Chillicothe, Ohio….
Yeah, where they don’t have a presence but it does involve a Marine or Navy personnel, they send someone there — and they take everything with them when they go. They are very much a mobile unit. Now, NCIS does have what they call it a Contingency Response field office, and they deploy overseas as well as within the continental United States if they need to add support or backup or additional bodies at a field office. This unit is loosely based on the way they operate the Contingency Response field office.


TVLINE | Of course, when you talk about traveling crime solvers, part of me pictures Criminal Minds. How is this going to feel different from that show?
Because [the NCIS Red team members] actually live together, they have a shared bathroom, in the morning they get up and argue about who’s used the last of the bread for the toast, and then they strap on their guns and grab their laundry on the way to the crime scene.

TVLINE | Do they travel by jet, or a tricked-out Winnebago like in Stripes?
They basically pack out a couple of 40-foot containers with equipment to take everything they need with them when they deploy. I took that concept and said, “Well let’s give them accommodations,” so they have two big tractor-trailers. If they need to get across the country, they fly across in big C-17s, then spit the trucks out of the planes and drive to their location. The trucks then fold out into a living space and a working space, with the flick of lever.

TVLINE | That’s got to make for some fun visuals.
It’s fun visuals. But unlike NCIS: Los Angeles, where all of the technology is whiz-bang and state-of-the-art, sometimes it doesn’t work here as well as it should. They’re never quite sure what’s going to happen when their office and home unfolds.

TVLINE | How would you compare the tone of Red versus NCIS proper and LA?
The humor and the camaraderie of the team working together is front and center — that is clearly the main ingredient of the success of the NCIS franchise. But this has a cherry on top. Because they are living together, it’s much more intense, it’s much more of a pressure-cooker environment. They don’t get to leave the office; they get to go to their bedroom or they go to the kitchen and start cooking dinner.

TVLINE | So whereas for years Ziva could only wonder what Tony did after work, these people know.
Exactly. In the second part of the two-parter, you get to see what Clare wears to bed. And poor old Dave has to sit there and endure that, because she’s a very pretty woman.

RELATED | Ask Ausiello: Scoop on NCIS: LA‘s Kensi and Deeks [Spoiler]ing again!

TVLINE | Do any of the L.A. agents already know these Red folks? Daniela Ruah told me there’s “tension” between Callen and Agent Paris.Paper Soldiers
There is definitely some wonderful chemistry that develops between Paris and Callen, who do know of each other. I think the audience is going to be  bowled over by what they see. And it wouldn’t be NCIS: Los Angeles without Hetty’s involvement, behind the curtain pulling strings. She has a very interesting arc in these two episodes. Linda is in top form.

TVLINE | Does Hetty have an issue with the Red team…?
No, it’s much more Machiavellian than that. Hetty is very aware of the Red team. She has a relationship that goes back a long way with Roy, and we see that in the first episode. It’s very intriguing. And there is a big mystery about Roy and Paris, a very dark secret that they share. And for NCIS: Los Angeles fans, apart from introducing these new team members, in the first episode there’s a big revelation about Kensi and Deeks that pays off something that was set up earlier in the season. I’ll tell you that “the box” makes a return that is most unexpected, and it creates a very interesting dilemma for Deeks that ultimately will affect their relationship for the rest of the series.

TVLINE | Talk about casting Kim Raver and John Corbett as the leads. What did you need from those roles?
I needed a very strong woman, someone who had the credibility of being in charge of a fairly elite team of people. I went to Washington, D.C. and met about eight or 10 of them, women NCIS agents who were in positions of authority as team leaders. Kim is incredibly strong, and in both of these episodes she comes across as someone you totally and utterly believe is in charge. She’s perfect. In Roy I had a character with a past history. RedRoy and Paris were once partners, and the reason that he stopped being an agent is revealed in the two episodes. So, I was looking for someone who had some vulnerability but who was incredibly likeable and could bring, at the same time, all of the requirements of being credible and of being someone who was a smart addition to the team. When John’s name was mentioned, I got very excited about the potential because he has played those “laid back” kind of characters. But having said that, if you’re a big fan of John Corbett, you’ve never seen him play a role like this before. He’s very powerful on screen, there’s a wonderful presence. He’s funny… and he’s carrying a gun.

TVLINE | If this gets ordered to series, does a small part of you for any reason almost not want it to air on Tuesdays?
It doesn’t worry me. To be honest, and I’ve not said this to anyone, I’m very comfortable with it airing at 10 o’clock. And I’d be very comfortable with it airing any night. Having the two shows air back-to-back, I think, would be fantastic. It would be a great way for these stories to flow into the other. But at the same time, it’s the audience who will probably decide ultimately whether this even gets to air as a series.

Want more scoop on any NCIS show? Email and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Esaul says:

    I’m sold. Although I enjoy NCIS more than LA.

  2. George2k says:

    NCIS (8)
    NCIS LA (9)
    NCIS red (10)

    3 hrs of NCIS how can that be a bad thing. :)

  3. Tina B. says:

    I love this idea, can’t wait! Also can’t wait to see the Densi twist, please be something good!

  4. David4 says:

    I would rate another year or so until NCIS is closer to death. But have to milk the cow when it’s healthy.

    • Esaul says:

      Unless Harmon leaves (I couldn’t see the show lasting without him), and CBS continues to pay these incredible actors, they’ll be around for quite some time. The show had a quiet start and is now dominating. I don’t think the show will end in the next three years (even five possibly).

    • Svenja says:

      NCIS currently has a very strong season. IMO it’s the strongest since season 5. I think the show ends when Mark retires or David cannot work anymore because of his age (NCIS without Ducky is a no go to many fans).

      • Mike says:

        While i’d be sad to see any of the core NCIS team leave, they have been building up “Jimmy” as a potential Ducky-replacement.

  5. Tybois says:

    Give me a full night of NCIS and I would be a VERY happy camper. Already diggin’ this show and haven’t even seen it. :)

  6. MD says:

    @Esaul I’m the opposite – I like LA way more than the original NCIS. Looking forward to meeting the red team.

    • Esaul says:

      I’ve seen bits of LA, mostly the first season. It isn’t a bad show, it just doesn’t have the same chemistry I enjoy on NCIS. Plus, I love Harmon. ^_^ Glad to see the franchise is healthy nevertheless as CSI and L&O die out.

      • Alan says:

        dont base your opinion of la on the first season, it was average at best. the producers made a few cast changes after season one and the writing quality got much better. i find it very enjoyable, although that might be because i love the spy thriller aspects that are mixed in with the usual procedural stuff.

        • Esaul says:

          Yeah I’m trying not to. My problem is, it bothers me if I watch things out of order. I don’t want to jump into a random episode where I don’t know what’s going on with the characters. Like in NCIS, I still don’t know who that woman is that Tony was engaged to (I think? I wasn’t an avid fan of NCIS until two/three seasons ago and I try to watch all the repeats on USA, but never get the ones I want).

          • Alan says:

            start with the opening episode of season 2, anything you need to know about characters you get it in that episode, and it has almost all the characters that made the show good in it. if the show ever calls back to the first season stuff after that you will catch up pretty quickly, i sure did since the first few episodes of la i saw were part way through season 3, still havent seen most of the show in order but i am able to follow along no problem.

    • Shaun says:

      I much prefer Leon to Hetty,she’s kinda unbelievable as a former agent.I prefer Densi to Diva because they have a much more flirty partnership.NCIS is way too serious but LA is way more ridiculous in storylines.

  7. Linderella says:

    I’ve never been a viewer of the original NCIS series and it’s children although I did watch JAG. I attempted to watch NCIS LA but it was so awful I gave up after trying 3 different episodes. However, I am willing to give the franchise another shot on the basis of the casting of Kim Raver and John Corbett. I hope I’m not disappointed.

    • Dwill says:

      John Corbett is pretty good, but Kim Raver wasn’t impressive at all, I think the big deal that was made about her was highly overrated! Just my opinion, you may actually like this one.

  8. Sarah says:

    The return of ‘The box’ is very exciting news!!!

  9. Dizzle says:

    I tend to only get sucked into these procedural shows if I like the cast. I find the original flavour NCIS to be quite charming, the chemistry between the cast is really fun. Not that keen on NCIS: LA, it’s not bad just very…. blah. I’m excited about the cast for this spinoff though, loved Kim Raver since Third Watch (she seems to have made a long career out of being a fantastic actress saddled with horrid characters) and both John Corbett and Scott Grimes bring a lot of personality to their roles. I wouldn’t want all three NCIS’ on the same night, though – spread the wealth, CBS! Shift one of them to Sundays and give The Good Wife a fighting chance!

  10. Elyse says:

    I hope it gets a series order!

  11. Renee says:

    I wish I liked Kim Raver. Maybe this will change my mind about her.

  12. Alan says:

    a good cast makes or breaks a procedural so judgement should be reserved until we have actually seen them in action.

  13. M3rc Nate says:

    In regards to the Kensi and Deeks part of this, what are they referring to? The Box and all that? I just dont remember.

    Im happy that Red will be about the characters, im SO OVER procedurals and their 40 minutes of “murder case” and 2 minutes of “character interaction” and never any character growth COUGH ncis COUGH. Hopefully though this “living together” doesnt get too messy and become soap-opera’y.

    I however think i will be much much more satisfied with Graceland (on USA), which is undercover agents from almost every agency living together. Its on USA which is the best network and has the best shows, its created and run by the guy who created and runs White Collar (one of my top 3 fav USA shows). And USA shows are all about growing characters and development of storylines, unlike NCIS and other procedurals which again, are 98% about the cases….and “murder cases/procedurals” are so late ’90s early 2000’s. I dont care how someone was murdered anymore..i dont care about interrogation and who stole a nuke and all that. I feel no connection at all to the mystery or case. Let alone how many terrorist cells and nukes and anthrax and plutonium etc are in LA? lol. (Kinda joking, i know the show is fiction and now adays shows have to play to those HUGE stakes).

    • Alan says:

      what is this graceland show you talk about? ive never heard of it but the premise sounds cool and the fact that it is on usa has gotten me interested. has it already aired or will it be airing soon?

    • merlynwzrd says:

      No character growth? Not sure which show you have been watching, dude. We now know Sam has a wife and child and he has revealed more of his personal back story each season. Ditto with Callan, whose Romanian heritage is out in the open and, although we don’t get to see it, he lives in his own house.

      For Kensi and Deeks, all I can say is if you missed the box when it first showed up, you probably missed the changes in their relationship through the past few seasons, which have made them such excellent partners.

      And what about Eric and Nell? The whole dueling geeks in love story has been a major step forward for both characters. And in case you missed it (which you obviously have) how characters solve crimes and conduct interrogations reveals as much about the character themselves as it does the plot. Yeah it’s fiction, and it panders to the topical subjects, but the writer is always telling an ongoing story, not just a 44 minute short film that bears no relation to what happens in other episodes.

  14. canadian ninja says:

    Here’s hoping the Kensi/Deeks twist is that they’re actually related and then we can stop watching the hoplessly annoying flirting. Seriously, let Kensi date a guy not the team dog.

  15. dio says:

    One whole night of NCIS & it’s children is a very good thing! I’m excited about the RED, haven’t seen it yet, but looking forward to viewing, as long as the LA characters are an intergral to that particular show. LOVE Hetty! And I think she is vastly underused in NCIS-LA, hated Vance when he first came to NCIS, but over the years he has become more likeable. STILL! upset with Shane Brennen for killing off Jenny Shepard, she is the ONLY ONE that I want to see Leroy Jethro Gibbs paired with, the only female to which the chemistry was real, just didn’t think she should have been director, she needed to be another agent, again paired with Gibbs as they were in the past. I, too, am interested in thia mysterious “black box” thing, don’t remember anything about it, & I have never missed an episode of NCIS-LA, LOVE that show!!! Love the Densii flirtation but keep it light, no relationships, as is with Tiva, close but no personal/love relationship other than love of friends. Callum is still the mystery, I am entriged with him and his Romannian past, connections with the Russian mob & Hetty’s mysterious past, how she ties in with Callum, would love to see more of that, but as Callum is the NCIS-LA’s Ghost agent don’t want too many revelations about him, better he remain mysterious! And on the subject of Ducky, well, don’t even think of getting rid of the Duck-man, I’ve had a crush on David McCallum since his days as agent Illya Kureyakin on Man From U.N.C.L.E. I love the thoughts of Palmer becoming an agent to add to Gibbs’s crew of excellent agents, but NEVER a replacement for Ducks!!!!! So long may CBS network reign! Keep up the good work, outstanding!!

  16. Susan says:

    Can’t wait to meet the Red Team! Sounds like excellent casting~

  17. Bobofgine says:

    Isnt ‘the box’ they are referring to the one that Kensi got delivered to the office a few episodes ago and Deeks spent the entire episode saying ‘Whats in the box?” and in the end credits Kensi was seen carrying it out with Deeks, Sam, Callen and Eric??

  18. kay v says:

    Yes “the box” is that very one Kensington received at the office. Wonder what could possibly be in it to alter their relationship? I’ve never been a can of Densi as a couple, so I’m kind of hoping it’s something that finally ends that obnoxious flirting!

  19. kay v says:

    Autocorrect is to blame for the Kensi name change! Also, can is supposed to say fan. Could have sworn I read my comment for errors before posting!

  20. Dwill says:

    NCIS/NCIS LA are GREAT! But like movies, sometimes you should leave well-enough ALONE! I don’t think this new team/ show or whatever they’re trying to do is going to be a hit like the other 2.
    Watching it now, and their team looks like a joke, the blonde, Paris looks like she’s over 40, hard in the face, sorry but she looks anorexic, and shes trying to hard to, shes trying to be sexy, not coming naturally, trying to play the hard role, not believable. They could have done SO MUCH BETTER with the woman they paired Callen up with. The other team mates just look clueless, and really one of their team already gets critically injured??? LOL They’re a mess. I can honestly say I won’t be watching that NCIS red whatever it is.

    • merlynwzrd says:

      Kim Raver’s character is the head of an elite team that has already been through the field agent process, so of course she has a few years on her and is not some 22 year old bimbette.

      As for the rest of the team, it’s a little premature to judge them on the basis of one episode which focussed on both teams. Just for the record, the guy who got “injured” was attacked by a terrorist who has already killed another person and eluded both teams in the middle of a BLIZZARD!

      Callan and Paris are not “paired off”. What they are is two veteran agents who know each other’s reputations meeting for the first time. What light flirting there was would be perfectly normal in that situation.

  21. B says:

    NCIS: Red is going to be SO bad.

  22. Pat says:

    Original NCIS always ‘speaks’ to me. Love the ensemble cast, the moments of humor (that’s very true to life), and moments of heart. You never know when a character is going to turn a corner and have a growth spurt. Of course, Mark Harmon is the heart and soul, but I’m so glad he’s secure enough as a person and actor that he abstains from being the ‘star’ (vs. Horatio in CSI: Miami). I like LA, too – it’s improved every season, and has the potential to be as good as the original. So, I’ll give the new show a chance. Not a huge fan of either Raver or Corbett, but I’m willing to be convinced.

  23. ByronAlways says:

    I understand a FBI RED, a Air Force Office of Special or CSI franchise but another NCIS kill interest of others.

    • Alan says:

      wait you would rather another csi, of which there have already been 3, over another ncis, of which there have been two. by your statement that another would kill the interest in the franchise wouldnt that do more damage to csi than ncis?

      • nuno says:

        perhaps! this red team should not, for now, get the right to get it´s own show. what about getting this team in the field in some other “crossover” episodes, with NCIS (original) and dare i to say with the FBI very own B.A.U. from Criminal Minds, and see what comes out of it…
        I like the possibilities of “crossover” episodes when the are these franchise type of Tvseries, they help humanize and to put in a common and visual context all the specific universes and character of each single series.

        • Marie says:

          Don’t need another NCIS – The two now are GREAT – that’s enough – Besides not too happy with Kim Raver – A romance connection with Callan – NO WAY –

  24. ByronAlways says:

    I want an AFOSI series

  25. billy says:

    When do i get my part

  26. Navin-Ohio says:

    I love a good random Ohio shout out – Why pick Chillicothe, Ohio?
    I watch the original NCIS – tried to watch NCIS LA and hung on for Chris O’Donnell – John Corbett could bring something good to RED – if he’s not too cheesy of a character.

  27. natalie says:

    CBS seems to judge shows better than NBC , where this whole thing started. JAG’s first season was on NBC where they canceled (as usual a good show) and lost out on this 18 year soon to 4 hit string of shows

  28. Maya says:

    Really hope NCIS Red gets aired!!!! great choice of actors and a great plot idea!!

  29. Marie Cleary says:

    Callan and Raver NO WAY!!!!! She looks to old for him – she should stick to Corbett

  30. Emilyhotchnerforever says:

    I’m a fan of densi. I like them together, and they both experienced some tragic life changing events. Deek’s dad being abusive ,whom he later ended up shooting in self defense and kensi’s dad dying. I think i’m gonna give red a shot. I don’t who the characters are, though.

  31. Garrett says:

    I think Cote leaving has something to do with the NCIS L.A spin off money wise just like Criminal Minds spin off did not last at all. Cote knows she has hundreds of fan waiting to see her. When they lost Kate will not even come close to Cote. No one can fill her place ! This sow is number one and has a lot of life left why would she leave with the money she can continue to make. Cote please reconsider. I hope this is a publicity stunt. They are also screwing up NCIS L.A.’s plot line. It won;d be nice to see deeks and his partner be on and off this season it would be a great tease. They make q good couple so opposite. They are putting all there resources in the third NCIS spin off !

    • Marie says:

      NCIS Red with Raver – NO WAY – Don’t need another spin off of two Great Shows – Please try to bring Cote back- She is needed – no one can ever replace this great actress and a great team – with her in it……………….

  32. Esaul says:

    NCIS: Red will probably enter early syndication with USA Network similar to NCIS: LA. Pretty sure that deal was made within the second season of LA. I could be mistaken.