Looking Ahead With Scott Bakula, 'NCIS: New Orleans'

By Stacy Jenel Smith

September 27, 2016 4 min read

Scott Bakula is making the best of his "NCIS: New Orleans" being bumped to the 10 p.m. Tuesday night timeslot behind Michael Weatherly's new "Bull" drama. "Those are the cards you get, you've got to go with them," notes the ever-engaging nice guy star.

There are positives. "Bull" got off to a strong start last week, providing a good lead-in for "NCIS: New Orleans." Also, at the later hour, "I think there's a sense we can be a little darker, a little edgier, a little more character driven, hopefully a little less formulaic, that we have a little more freedom," Bakula adds.

However, he points out, "We're still on at 9 o'clock in the Midwest." And the network "is happy with what we're doing. So we're not going to be doing anything radically different. We'll soon see how it all shakes out."

The episode for Sept. 27 has Tom Arnold aboard as former Navy Intelligence Analyst Elvis Bertrand, now in deep trouble. "He's being chased by me and the FBI, we're trying to find him and catch him and bring him in," says Bakula, referring to his character Dwayne Pride. "He was great. We had a ball. He came in ready to work. We laughed a lot."

Another face on the scene this season is Vanessa Ferlito as edgy FBI Agent Tammy Gregorio. Bakula finds the clashes between his team and the FBI invigorating. "It's always good having something to push back against," he says. And then there is Ferlito herself. "Whenever someone else comes in it always changes the dynamic, and she has that very strong personality." The character is "a New Yorker in New Orleans, and she is not in our agency, she's in the FBI, so we have a lot of really good, spirited back and forths going on"

Later this season, he tips, there will be a darker storyline involving Steven Weber.

And how is Scott holding up, seeing he is now in the third season of working away from his family back in Los Angeles? "Pretty good," he replies. "For me, it's kind of like a road team — when you're not at home, you're way more focused on your work. I work all day long. I prep for the next day. I look at scripts. I look at sets. And I go to bed. Then I get up and do it again. I have hours on planes where I do lots of and lots of work. So I try to take advantage of it and do the best I can with it. You know, I like sleeping in my own bed. This show, if it was shooting in L.A., would be a dream. My family has to make the biggest adjustment."

His wife, Chelsea Field, and their one of two sons who is still living at home "are very busy back in L.A." and he doesn't expect them to come to New Orleans any time soon. "They've got lots of work they're doing. School ... My wife's directing," he says, referring to a production of The Nutcracker. "It was never the deal that they'd have to come down." Things will be this way till Christmas break.

"I spend way too much time on airplanes," Scott admits. In fact, "I'm on my way to the airport right now to get on another one. But I'm still standing, trying to take care of myself."

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