NCIS' Mark Harmon and Cote de Pablo
In Part 1 of our in-depth Q&A with NCIS boss Shane Brennan, he shared the secret to creating a "Legend," as in the two-part spin-off pilot that kicked off April 28 and wraps up this Tuesday at 8 pm/ET.
Here in Part 2, Brennan reveals his plan to match if not top last year's season finale, teases the arrival of a trouble-making newcomer, and ponders the future of "Tiva."
TVGuide.com: When we spoke back in December, already you were teasing this season's finale (airing May 19) as "jaw-dropping," saying it would set up a "stunning" Season 7 premiere. Is that still the plan?
Shane Brennan: It is definitely the plan. We filmed a secret ending, and those pages were only in one copy of the script. People will see the finale and say, "I know what's going to happen next in the first episode back." Wrong. You don't know what's going to happen. People will go, "Am I really seeing that? What just happened?" It really is exciting. I promised that with [the Season 5 finale] "Judgment Day," and I think we delivered. It is very much in that vein.
TVGuide.com: Does the May 12 episode featuring Jamie Murray's customs agent play into the finale at all?
Brennan: Elements of it do. If you want to get the most out of the finale you need to watch the three episodes that come before. Michael Rivkin (played by Merik Tardos) makes an appearance, in a very big way. To say that he causes a few waves is an understatement.
TVGuide.com: I understand that Murray's character ruffles a few feathers as well.
Brennan: She does, but in a different way. We may even see a bit of jealousy on Abby's part, which should be a bit of fun.
TVGuide.com: Whatever you have planned for the finale, is it something you're going to catch heat for, as you did a year ago?
Brennan: I suspect I will. But the difference is that the fans understand we didn't cheat them [before]. I don't make false promises. If I do something, I like to be able to deliver on it. So it's the same as last season: Buckle up and hang in there until September. All will be revealed and you will be surprised, it will come at you from left field.... It will be a fun ride.
TVGuide.com: You've been relatively mum on the topic of Tony and Ziva. Is that out of some concern that if you talk about their romance too much, NCIS will seem soapy?
Brennan: No.... I think what people like about NCIS is that this is a bunch of people they'd love to work with. There's laughter, there are tears, there's office romance, and we've touched on all of those things all of these years. And what we're doing with Tiva is just another part of that. It's up to the audience to decide — and they will, over the summer — what might happen as a result of what we do in these last [three] episodes, but there is a natural progression to it. Everything has a life, and eventually things end. Now if you think I just said that Tiva's going to end, I didn't say that.
TVGuide.com: Sounds like one of those instances of "Be careful what you wish for. You wanted movement on the Tiva front...."
Brennan: You definitely get some movement here! These last episodes are really powerful. The fans are going to love them.
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