Broadcast every Friday evening on M6, the unprecedented 18 season of “NCIS” has been under very strict sanitary measures for several months. Emily Wickersham (Bishop) and Wilmer Valderrama (Torres) discuss for us the impact of Covid on the series.
As the future of NCIS, and Mark Harmon in the series, is still very uncertain at the present time, the broadcast of season 18 continues in the United States on CBS but also in France on M6, which is only a few weeks behind the American programming.
French fans will also be able to find this evening the third investigation of this eighteenth salvo on the Six. And from episode 7, the Covid epidemic will finally be integrated into the series and into the lives of the characters, who will have to deal with the death of a loved one of a team member due to the coronavirus.
But beyond the intrigues, which echo in small touches what the population of the planet has been going through for a year, the pandemic has also greatly disrupted the filming of NCIS since it first interrupted the filming of the season. 17 in March 2020. Before a resumption at the start of the last school year under very strict sanitary measures in order to allow the teams to box the episodes of season 18.
“Like the rest of the world we had to adapt to these new filming conditions and it was not easy at first”, recently explained Emily Wickersham, interpreter of Ellie Bishop. “Little by little we got used to all these sanitary rules to follow and I feel completely safe on the set of the series because everyone takes the problem very seriously. It makes the atmosphere sometimes a little surreal, between the masks, gloves, and the Covid tests that we have to do every week “.
But, according to the actress, who joined the NCIS adventure in season 11, the Covid especially complicates things for the actors of the series in terms of play and preparation for each sequence. “It’s a real challenge to shoot this season 18 in the midst of the Covid pandemic because to play well you have to let your guard down and embrace each other’s game, which we only manage to do once the camera turns and we remove our masks. It’s impossible during the rehearsals, which accentuates the difficulty and the conditioning to get fully into the skin of our characters “.
“The secret is to focus on the look, on the eyes of others, in order to stay in” contact “, as if nothing had happened”, continues Emily Wickersham. But, according to her, the coronavirus epidemic also brought, in a somewhat strange way, a more “intense” dimension to the episodes. “We are talking about the pandemic in this season and it had a therapeutic effect, somewhere, on the set and for the whole production team. It has further strengthened the human bond that exists between us. You will often see us with our people. masks, when the NCIS crew goes to crime scenes. Of course, it’s still unsettling. But I think it adds an intense dimension to the show. It makes the tone of NCIS even more dramatic. “.
The entire NCIS team is in any case lucky to be able to continue working. And to still be able to offer, week after week, new surveys to fans of the series. Like Wilmer Valderrama, the interpreter of Torres, who knows how such a popular series can help boost viewers’ morale in these complicated times: “For me, it’s important that we can continue to make a series that keeps our fans spirited up and takes them out of their everyday grayness.”.
Comprised of just 16 episodes, NCIS Season 18 will end on May 25 in the United States. And for now, CBS has still not commented on a possible season 19, although everything suggests that it will eventually be ordered.