Rocky Carroll with Mark Harmon, <I>NCIS</i> Rocky Carroll with Mark Harmon, NCIS

This Tuesday at 9 pm/ET, CBS' NCIS wraps up its sixth season by sending Gibbs, Tony, Ziva and Vance to Israel, to douse an international incident. Rocky Carroll, whose profile as Director Vance has greatly increased this past season, shared a look at what's ahead. What exactly sends Vance and the rest to Israel, or a reasonable L.A. facsimile thereof?
Rocky Carroll: The final scene of "Semper Fidelis," with Tony shooting Michael Rivkin dead.... With Michael being a Mossad operative, it starts a bit of an international tete-a-tete, so off goes the NCIS team to Israel to quell the tensions. In the promos, it looks like Ziva is targeted by a bomb.
Carroll: Yeah, yeah.... Somebody tries to finish her off there. The promos also want us to believe that Ziva is going to shoot Tony. That'd sure put a damper on any romance.
Carroll: That's what I said on my blog. My statement to the "Tiva" fans was, "Be careful what you wish for!" Because now you're getting Tiva to the tenth power. There's some speculation that Ziva is working undercover, either for her father or Vance.
Carroll: You've had conversations with [NCIS executive producer] Shane [Brennan], so you know he likes that. It raises questions. I grew up in the theater and I was always told that a good story should raise more questions than provide answers, and that's what we're doing here. Shane told me that the finale's final scene was shot in secret, and there was only one copy of the script. Have you seen that script?
Carroll: No, I did not get to see that script. But I was the recipient of that same "cloak of secrecy" last season, since I was the only one in that [cliffhanger] scene with Mark [Harmon]. It basically speaks to the times we live in, because people have access to the world through their handheld phones.... Right, and if Joe the Gaffer gets his hands on the script...
Carroll: He leaks it and people are way ahead of you. It's fun, though. It plays into the aura of what we do here. I was singing your praises as a blogger to Shane Brennan. He in turn sang your praises as a cast member.
Carroll: I read that interview you did; thanks very much for all the kind words. Since you blog for us, I have to say I felt a small sense of pride when I read that you were getting an honorary doctorate from Webster University [in St. Louis, Mo.]. What was that weekend like for you?
Carroll: It was terrific. I hadn't been back to Webster in over 20 years, so I got see a lot of the educators who are still there.... And speaking in a 10,000-seat outdoor arena at the Municipal Opera in St. Louis, you couldn't have scripted it better. What was the gist of your commencement speech?
Carroll: The graduating class really responded to it. I told them I was an "OK" student when I was there, but as I got older and had more experience in life and got to encounter more and more incredible people in this business, I came to understand the value of being a student much more than I did when I was a student. I let all of these people with so much history and practical knowledge and wisdom teach me, and it served me well. I told them that your education doesn't stop just because you're about to turn that tassel to the other side. If you one of your past TV series could have run longer, which would you choose?
Carroll: Roc. We were doing something very interesting and quite different, because we were bold in so many ways. We had done one season live, and we were changing the genre of the "black comedy" by dealing with some very real issues. For most people, if you're going to offer a point of view about the world, if you can encase it with humor, people will be more responsive to it. We were bridging that gap. We only had three seasons on the air, and I've always said to [series lead] Charles Dutton, "I would have rather been on for three seasons doing the kind of material that we did as opposed to having to revert to sophomoric humor just to stay on for 10."

Special note: "Fear," a song written and performed by NCIS regular Pauley Perrette, will be featured in Tuesday's season finale, as the team is arriving in Tel Aviv.

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