Scott Bakula leads the NCIS’s New Orleans-based team, and fans have gotten to know his love interest Rita Devereux in special appearances over the years. When the series finally returns to CBS after its coronavirus hiatus, Rita is set to play a major part in the upcoming season.
Production on the backend of NCIS: New Orleans’ sixth season came to a screeching halt amid the outbreak of coronavirus back in March of this year.
Rather than continue with the disrupted instalment, the remaining episodes will instead rollover to the beginning of the highly anticipated seventh season.
The premiere will air on CBS on November 8 this year, rather than its usual September-May run.
Scott Bakula will lead the cast as Dwayne Pride as usual, but the premiere will add a surprising new addition to the show’s main cast.
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After appearing in just seven episodes, it has been confirmed Rita Deveraux (played by Chelsea Field) will be coming along as a series regular this season.
Deveraux is played by Scott Bakula’s real life wife and long-term partner, Chelsea Field, and viewers have been swept away by their authentic chemistry since her introduction in season three.
Field previously had a small role in the main NCIS series back in 2006, but was brought back in a greater capacity as the love interest and eventual girlfriend of Team Leader ‘Cassius’ Pride.
While Bakula’s wife Chelsea Field won’t be part of the main cast, her promotion to series regular indicates she’ll feature in a large proportion of episodes in the coming season.
As most TV projects have started to plough ahead with little to no reference to the continuing pandemic, it’s rare to see a series definitively confirm the pandemic is also happening within its fictional universe.
Moreover, the freshly released stills of Bakula and Field on set have provided more indicators that the pandemic will be an ongoing thread in season seven.
In one photo, Pride is seen wearing a disposable mask, temporarily dropped to give Deveraux a welcoming kiss, and is also holding bottles of sanitiser.
Most, if not all US series were hit with severe delays upon the first wave of the pandemic, so the entire TV industry has felt its effects.
The majority of shows have simply adapted health and safety measures to go about business as usual and tell stories outside the realms of harsh reality.
By taking the bold approach of referencing real world events at every turn, it will be interesting to see how NCIS evolves to match the ever-changing state of the health crisis.
With some experts warning the pandemic could last for years to come, NCIS could look like a completely different series as it continues into 2021 and beyond.
NCIS New Orleans will return with season 7 on November 8 on CBS.