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Eric Christian Olsen: NCIS: LA Wedding Episode Is 'The Best Version of What We Do' (With a 'Masterful' Twist)

NCIS LA Wedding Densi

CBS’ NCIS: Los Angeles is heading for a wedding this Sunday at 9/8c, and much adieu will surround Deeks and Kensi’s trading of I Do’s.

The very happy event caps a nine-season flirtation-turned-romance between LAPD Liaison Marty Deeks and Special Agent Kensi Blye, played by Eric Christian Olsen and Daniela Ruah. To mark the occasion, the bride and groom will receive one unwelcome visitor (as well as perhaps one very joyous RSVP), while for good measure “Densi” fans will at long last learn what is inside… The Box.

TVLine spoke with Olsen about the road leading to the altar, his favorite romantic moments, and more.

TVLINE | When you started NCIS: LA, did you ever think you would one day be part of one of the decade’s most anticipated TV weddings?
[Laughs] A kid can dream, you know what I mean? A kid can dream. Yeah, that cover that TV Guide Magazine did was amazing — I got 1,000 text messages from all over! To be able to put this relationship together for nine seasons and have it get to this place, and have it be this well received, is exciting.

NCIS LA Deeks Kensi DensiTVLINE | When you look back on those nine seasons, how do you think it progressed? Pretty organically?
Yeah. I have a theory about shows, where if it’s straight drama — you look at Brothers & Sisters, or This Is Us— you’ve got to have these highlights to drive the whole story, and so they’re always coming fast. With our show, what’s driving the story is the procedural element, so we get to slow down the relationships and make them a little more authentic, especially with regards to what love looks like. These characters have definitely earned their way to this place.

TVLINE | Do you have any favorite moments, episodes for them?
If you look back to the time that Kensi was trapped in that room with the bomb… you see the ignition point of what that chemistry looked like and what they were fighting for. There are these deeply grounding moments, fundamental moments and milestones in their relationship, such as after Deeks was tortured and he couldn’t sleep and she came over and they ate Chinese food and there’s all this banter. And obviously, the break-up scene at the end of last season was one of my favorite scenes ever.

TVLINE | I remember it well; we gave you a Performer of the Week honorable mention.
I saw that. That’s one of my favorite scenes from a viewing standpoint, too, because it’s really easy to paint this as one-sided — one person is wrong and one is right. But the complexity of that fight was that they were both right. It was just a failure of circumstances, and that’s what was so heartbreaking about it. And then to go to Mexico and have that beautiful scene at the church where you just go, I don’t care about the circumstances, I don’t care about logistics. Love wins. These two have definitely put the hours in to get to a place where they have this wedding.

TVLINE | When filming such a momentous TV occasion, do Eric and Daniela get any kind of jitters?
[Laughs] No, no. At that point I was flying back and forth to Canada — my wife [Sarah Wright] is shooting a show in Toronto — so it’s like all of a sudden the cameras are rolling and you’re like, “Oh my God, this is happening!” Which is a lot like a wedding. There’s preparation and preparation and suddenly it’s happening then you’re like, I need to take stock of this. I was a fun day to shoot. It’s a  [showrunner Scott] Gemmill episode, which is the perfect combination of comedy and action and drama and heartfelt moments. Gemmill is a master at the balance of tone.

TVLINE | We have this clip from the episode where Deeks shows up on Sam’s boat, and he seems to be full of nerves.
That’s the beauty of how Gemmill wrote this. Kensi is much more cool and prepared, and Deeks kind of freaks out. What we come to find out is that Deeks has this sudden realization that he has “conned” Kensi into loving him, and that if he really does love her, he has to recognize that there’s probably somebody out there better for her than him.

TVLINE | Pfft. He’s talkin’ crazy.
[Laughs] But in that moment, he has this existential crisis of, “There’s gotta be better. And I love her so much, should she really be marrying me?” It’s this really wonderful and beautiful moment of self-doubt. One of my favorite things about Deeks is that he is human first, and that’s such a human reaction — “Oh my God, what am I doing?” —  which is why that break-in scene with Todd [LL Cool J] is so fun.

TVLINE | Might work interfere with the Big Day?
Oh yeah, of course. Nothing can go off without a hitch. Originally, for our [TV Guide Magazine] cover, Daniela’s knuckles were all bloody, which I loved so much. The perfect “sunshine and gunpowder” combination. Yeah, things go sideways. And a character comes back from Deeks’ past which is like, “This is the last person I want to see on my wedding day.” It’s funny.

NCIS LA Linda Hunt Hetty ReturnsTVLINE | I heard they found a way to “include” Granger (played by the late Miguel Ferrer) in the episode. Dare we hope that Linda Hunt returned in time for it as Hetty? 
The only people missing Linda more than the fans is me. So, nothing would make me happier than her coming back — and I sound pretty happy, right?

TVLINE | All together, how satisfied do you think fans will be with the wedding episode?
That’s a tough question, because when you say “100 percent,” no one is satisfied. We find out what’s in the box, and that beautiful reveal, I think, has an emotional impact that no one is really prepared for. When you look at the box and its history in its entirety, what’s in the box, and her putting that in the box, at the point in their relationship at which she did, is masterful storytelling by the producers and writers. It almost changes the last six seasons. That she knew at that point what was in that box was what it was is game changing. So I think they’ll be thrilled with that.

The wedding episode is the best version of what we do, which is action and drama and comedy and poignant moments that are earned. We get all that stuff — and then a nice surprise.