With just one episode before its Season 3 finale, NCIS: New Orleans has Pride (Scott Bakula) and his team in a pressure cooker as their efforts to bring down no-good Mayor Hamilton (Steven Weber) keep backfiring. The mayor's corruption has long been a sticking point for Pride, but now it's super close to home: it's because of Hamilton that Percy's (Shalita Grant) still locked up on trumped-up charges, and digital don Patton (Daryl 'Chill' Mitchell) has been ordered to stay offline. Normally even-keeled Pride seems to be cracking at the seams, making rash, emotional decisions that just have him spinning in circles. So how is he going to finally put an end to Hamilton's campaign of fraud and violence? TVGuide.com caught up with executive producer Chris Silber to find out what to expect in the finale... and what's ahead for Season 4.
So... Pride has completely lost his cool.
Chris Silber: Yeah, we've been building this story where he's taking on his sort of arch-nemesis in Mayor Hamilton and in the back half of our season, it's gotten really personal. Hamilton has finally proven that he can bite back, and he's targeted in on Pride's team. And they're really going mano a mano. Pride's losing his cool over it. It's gotten way too personal for him.
When the dust settles, how is Pride changed after this? How does he regain the respect of his colleagues, who see him as a parental figure, and for himself?
Silber: That is a wonderful question that most likely will need to be answered in Season 4. What we're ramping up to in the last two episodes is the climax of these two men going after each other — both of them pillars of the city, both of them doing what they feel is best for the city in their own way. And obviously our Dwayne Pride has taken the side of righteousness on this but he's willing to sacrifice everything to stop Mayor Hamilton once and for all. And yes, the question will become for Season 4: What are the consequences of that for Pride after, one hopes, he does accomplish that mission?
There was the suggestion the last episode that Pride and the team might need to call in reinforcements. Are we going to see that or is this something they're going to be able to handle by themselves?
Silber: What's fun about these episodes — I get to work on the crossover and the midseason finale as well — is sort of calling back to some of our regular reoccurring characters who can come and give a hand when a hand is needed. So there will be some return visits from people who have become part of our extended family, which is always exciting. In the finale episode there are a couple of old faces we're starting to enjoy seeing.
Silber: I'll tell you this, without giving too much away. The season comes full circle for us. We started this season, Season 3, where Pride and the team were sort of on notice. They were being investigated by the FBI and you know, Tammy Gregorio (Vanessa Ferlito) came in and she was part of a group of people who were looking to pull apart this family that Pride has built. And Pride has spent the entire season with his team, keeping his family intact and actually, you know, convincing Tammy she can be one of the family and now she is. I think what's great about this last episode, without giving too many details away, Tammy is sort of tasked with keeping the family together as Pride is tasked with this obsessive journey to take down Mayor Hamilton. Tammy has taken up his part to keep the family intact. It's a great journey for both of these characters but especially for her because she was a new character solidified not just as a part of the family, but a leader when need be.
Percy's not in a good space. Will she be sprung out by the finale?
Silber: I'll put it this way — she's integral to the last two episodes. And she is going to be working hand in hand with the team. At the end of the day, we're hoping our entire family is back together where they should be.
Is she back for Season 4?
Silber: Yes. There are no surprises intended in that way. Just story surprises.
Will the big Percy and LaSalle (Lucas Black) kiss we've been waiting for happen this season? How does Percy's incarceration impact her and LaSalle's relationship — does this bring them closer together?
Silber: This relationship between them — it's a deep friendship, and obviously they have very strong feelings for each other, which is different than the fellowship and friendship they feel to their other teammates but it's very complicated obviously for a lot of reasons, not least of which is because they are on a team and they are working together and they need to be able to focus on that. But what these two actors have been able to bring to this sort of 'Will they, won't they?' thing has been amazing. And they inform so much what we start to think about in keeping the truth of that relationship going. At the end of the day, they're partners and they work really well together. Their chemistry is amazing, so it's always fun to play with. The lengths that each of them is willing to go for each other, not least in these last episodes, proves over and over how important they are for each other and opens their eyes to the profound nature of their connection.
Obviously this seasons's theme touched on government corruption — what kinds of themes will you be exploring for Season 4?
Silber: We're just starting to talk about it now — we're just wrapping Season 3 — but we want to focus in on the characters themselves. So as opposed to necessarily at this time thinking, "Well this season we're going to have this season-long arc of this Big Bad or that villain" we want to focus on how our characters have reacted to what we've just experienced. And the episodes that we're really excited about that we've done this season, you know we met Gregorio's ex-husband and saw what their relationship was like... it stood alone but also dealt with the relationships between our characters and it really gives us something to reflect back on. And those are the kind of stories that we want to continue to tell. And like I said at the beginning, without giving details of how it resolves at the end of Season 3 for Pride, it is going to affect every move he makes moving forward in Season 4. And our episodes might episodically be a little more standalone, each character will bring with them the experiences that they've just had. And it will reflect upon each case they see in Season 4.
Can we expect to see new faces, new reoccurring characters in Season 4?
Silber: You can expect to see perhaps some new guests we might bring in. You can also expect to see some old favorites. We really enjoy working with some of these characters we've met. I wouldn't be surprised if we saw [Gregorio's ex] McKinley (Ed Quinn), I wouldn't be surprised if we saw some of the other old favorites coming back — maybe there'll be a Tom Arnold, I'm not sure. But we always love playing in the sandbox with some of these characters and are always glad to have them back.
Will you be making an addition to the NCIS: New Orleans team?
Silber: You never know but there are no immediate plans. We're really happy. We spent a lot of time putting a great team of agents together. We were able to bring in Gregorio and she was able to round out this group but also we promoted Sebastian from lab tech and that has also helped fill out this ensemble when they're out in the field. I think we're going to play in this world for a while, but you never know what might happens five, 10 episodes in.
NCIS: New Orleans airs Tuesdays at 10/9c on CBS.
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