NCIS: New Orleans' SonjaPercy (Shalita Grant) got herself into a really fine mess this week when the usually level-headed NCIS special agent let a criminal go on the run — a decision that cost her her freedom.

Percy took the bold step of disobeying Pride's (Scott Bakula) order that they'd be detaining Nadine Bancroft (Sara Lindsey) — who admitted under interrogation that she was funneling her dad's stolen weapons to African villagers being terrorized by Boko Haram — letting her slip away during an intense gun fight. And though a disappointed Pride did his best to defend her against a no-nonsense prosecutor and judge, he had to walk out of the courthouse and give Percy's colleague (and crush) LaSalle (Lucas Black) the tough news: she was going to jail.

NCIS New Orleans: Percy makes a miscalculation that costs her everything

So what was she thinking? And what next?

"Percy had Nadine wrong," Grant told TVGuide.com in an interview. "She thought she had her figured out. She thought she was this rich girl who didn't care about anybody but herself. And then she realized this woman is actually putting her life on the line for these villagers. Letting this woman deliver guns to the villagers felt like the right thing to do and in the heat of the moment she makes the choice."

Viewers who might've thought Percy felt a connection to Nadine's mission because she's African-American weren't off base, Grant says. "I definitely think she identified with the victims."

Shalita Grant as Sonja Percy, <em>NCIS: New Orleans</em>Shalita Grant as Sonja Percy, NCIS: New Orleans


She'll recover the wound to her reputation, Grant says, but not after sweating it out behind bars. "The team is strong enough — and everyone knows each other well enough — that they all know that Percy follows her gut for better or worse. It's not like her decision was so far gone that the team is like, "How could you?!' Pride and LaSalle accept that she's got a strong stance. But she's paying the price for it. She's going to jail."

She's not getting out anytime soon either. "Pride feels like it's part of a larger plan of Mayor Hamilton's (Steven Weber) to break up the group," she says. "Their focus is getting Hamilton. [Percy's decision] was ill-timed, but they get it. And they're focused on the bigger picture." That bigger picture of course, is bringing the city's corrupt leader to justice. Which means Percy is going to remain on the wrong side of the law for the foreseeable future.

NCIS: New Orleans airs Tuesdays at 10/9c on CBS.

(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS.)