How Rocky Carroll Found Out Vance’s 1,000th Episode Story (VIDEO)


[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for NCIS Season 21 Episode 7 “A Thousand Yards.”]

For a milestone as major as the franchise’s 1,000th episode, NCIS pulls out all the stops, from guest stars (LA‘s Daniela Ruah as Kensi! Hawai’i‘s Vanessa Lachey as Jane! Joe Spano as Fornell!) to Easter eggs (like connections in the case to dead characters like Tom Morrow and Kate Todd and it all linking back to the mothership’s very first investigation). It also starts off by putting one of the agency’s own in the hospital.

While visiting his late wife’s grave and then having an awkward, tense conversation with his son, Jared (Spence Moore II), Director Vance (Rocky Carroll) is shot by a sniper. While Carroll, speaking with TV Insider for our weekly aftershow, NCIS: Case Closed, never worried about being killed off, he does recall of the initial conversation he had with the episode’s writer, Christopher J. Waild, that “he never mentioned anything about Vance being shot or near death. It was like, ‘What do you think about bringing Vance’s son back?’ And I said, ‘Oh, that’s a great idea.’ So when I read how he’s brought back and the reason that they reconnect, I was like, ‘He left out that little part about Vance getting shot in a cemetery.’”

It’s because Vance is shot and Jared gets at look at NCIS and what these agents do—and continue to do, even as they’re being threatened—that father and son are in a much better place by the end of the episode. Jared “may not have gotten there at all,” Carroll says. “I think he held a lot of resentment toward the fact that his mom was killed violently and he blamed that on NCIS.” Also, Vance’s daughter is also now an NCIS agent and has seen the risks of the job.

“It’s not until you realize that you could lose that person that you’re able to put aside whatever your grievances are with each other and realize that we’re just lucky to have another day together that I can say to you how much I do love you and how much I miss being connected to you,” adds Carroll. “I hope that’s what this episode sheds light on.”

The episode is filled with Easter eggs, including that the person they’re after is the daughter of the perp from the very first NCIS (in which Spano guest starred), which allows for quite a few callbacks. Carroll had yet to watch the episode and admits, “I need to see it the way you’ve seen it to [pick out the Easter eggs]. It’s funny when somebody stops me and says, ‘Hey, I love that episode when such and such happens,’ because I can proudly say we’ve done so many episodes and I’ve been a part of I think more than 300 of them myself, is that there’s not a lot of downtime between when you complete an episode and when you start the next one that you have to go through your mental computer and delete the file so you can store all the new stuff. I wouldn’t do very well in an Easter egg hunt.”

While Vance is recovering in the hospital in this episode, he names McGee (Sean Murray) interim director, something that seems like an easy decision, and yes, “many, many years from now,” the once-probie, now senior field agent is his pick to take over for him. “Here’s hoping that I can follow in the late David McCallum‘s footsteps and in my 80s still be a viable part and a working actor,” Carroll says. Vance has “seen [McGee’s] evolution, he’s seen his growth, as opposed to being sort of the foil to DiNozzo [Michael Weatherly], he knows that there’s a level of maturity that he possesses. And over the years he’s grown. He’s a husband, he’s a father, he understands responsibility more. I think Vance sees a lot of himself in McGee—family man, kids.”

But Vance isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, while his injury was a serious one, he’ll be back at work sooner rather than later.

Watch the video above for the full interview as Carroll talks about filming that opening scene, that great ending with Vance’s speech about what the badge means over a franchise montage, what he enjoys most about who Vance is now versus when he first joined the show, directing NCIS (including an episode earlier this season), and much more.

NCIS, Mondays, 9/8c, CBS

Read original source here.

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