When CBS sent its NCIS franchise to New Orleans, it seemed like a sure bet. The first season of NCIS: New Orleans delivered with swamp-soaked intrigue and a new cast ready to solve its riveting cases. Rob Kerkovich plays Sebastian Lund, forensic investigator and loveable nerd. We chatted with him about the big finale and how moving to the Big Easy has treated him.
You relocated to New Orleans for this show. How has that transition been?
It’s been an interesting experience. Obviously, the show itself is a great opportunity. The move from L.A. to New Orleans was fraught with stress, mostly because my wife and I had a six-week-old baby when I got the part. I had to leave pretty much immediately, and my wife had to, bless her heart, basically take care of a six-week-old baby and also pack an apartment to move. So the first couple of weeks were sort of a blur, but once they came out and we were all back together, it was pretty seamless. It was a lot of fun.
How is it being in New Orleans and filming a show like this? I imagine it makes it much more seamless to get the feel of the place correctly.
Immediately, you’re just dropped into the deep end. There’s no walking around on a set on a backlot in Studio City wondering if it’s authentic. You know it’s authentic because you’re right there in the middle of it. Plus the people, the entire city has been incredibly welcoming to the cast and the crew, so it feels like we’ve been seamlessly integrated over there.
What do you think sets your NCIS apart from the others in the franchises? Obviously the location is such a huge difference.
Part of it is because we are in the early stages (we just finished season 1), but the core cast is a little smaller right now. I know something that the writers and the producers are going for is a sense of family. I think it’s unique to our show that we sort of have the headquarters set in this carriage house that’s supposed to be in the French Quarter, and there are scenes that just take place in their large kitchen that they have, which makes it seem like it’s almost as if they are a family of cops that go out and solve crimes. I think that sort of tight knit nature of the main characters at this point. As shows progress, they start to add more regulars and they start to expand, for good reason, but right now the intimacy of having a smaller group maybe sets us apart a little bit.
What can we expect from the finale? Can you tell us any secrets?
It definitely expands and goes bigger than we’ve gone before in terms of the threat the team is dealing with. It’s a little atypical of what they’ve been facing throughout the season for the majority. Lots of excitement, I’d say.
What have been some of your favorite parts of this season?
A little bit of a selfish answer, but one of my favorite episodes was called “The Insider” and a gunman comes into the morgue and takes myself and C.C.H. Pounder (who plays Dr. Loretta Wade) and her assistant hostage. That was quite a curveball compared to where the show had been before that in terms of what we were doing in the lab and in the morgue to suddenly be facing down the barrel of a gun. We got to do different things with our characters than we normally do, so that was very exciting.
There was another episode where BD Wong played a character who had gotten radiation poisoning, and it was unique to the season in that the victim wasn’t actually dead yet. I thought that was a cool spin on what we had been doing because the victim never actually died. It’s implied that he’s going to die after the episode ends, but to work on a case like that.
I guess the best answer is, any time we sort of veer off the known path is the times where I get really excited.
Your character has a reputation for being very helpful and positive in the midst of a lot of craziness. How much are you like your character?
There’s a lot of crossover. I’d say unfortunately, because that indicates that I’m not really that great of an actor. It implies that I’m playing just some skewed version of myself! But one thing I started to discover as the season went on was that I think that Sebastian the character really just wants to impress everyone around him. He wants to the impress the team, and he wants to feel valuable. And I definitely feel that way in regards to the cast and the crew and the producers and writers and everything. I want to prove myself I guess, in a similar way that Sebastian does. That definitely is a similar sort of trait that we both have—wanting to work hard to impress the people around them.
What do you think Season 2 could bring for Sebastian?
The writers and the producers do a pretty good job of keeping us in the dark, and for good reason. I think if they start telling us what they are thinking and then things change or they get notes or they decide that’s the wrong direction, then they have to tell us, “Oh, that awesome thing we told you is not actually going to happen.” I think they want to avoid situations like that. Because then you’ve got six actors saying “what happened to that thing you said I was going to do?” And then they’d be dealing with a bunch of whiny kids. So I don’t know. I can only imagine given the work they’ve been doing so far. They’ve been crushing it season 1. I can only imagine that they will bring it even harder in season 2.
When you have time what TV shows do you watch?
I’m an awful television watcher. I don’t know what it is. I look at TV shows that people are recommending, especially shows that I missed the first couple of seasons on, and people will say, “You gotta watch this show.” And then my mind does the calculations of how long it will take to watch all this episodes of something, and I start to panic. I think, “I can’t commit that amount of time, I’m so busy.” I honestly end up going to just movies. I go through Netflix and crush a bunch of rando sci-fi movies that I’ve never seen.
What’s the last movie you watched?
I re-watched Fantastic Mr. Fox recently. Because I’m a new father I’m starting to create this mental list of movies to show the kid when he’s certain ages, and I’m figuring all that out. I’m going through what are great kid movies that parents also love, because those are the ones that stand the test of time. So I was reviewing Fantastic Mr. Fox and making sure that yes, it will be part of the pantheon of films that I show him. The biggest question in that regards is Star Wars. I’m really trying to figure out when to start the Star Wars train going. When, what order to show them in, that’s a big question now that I’ve got to deal with. Do you want to start with the prequels or do you want to start where we started when we were kids? There’s obviously Episode 4. There’s one school of thought that says you show them Episode 4, Episode 5 The Empire Strikes Back, then you show them all three prequels, then you show them Return of the Jedi. So I’m doing some calculations right now on how that’s all going to work. This is probably the biggest decision I’ve ever faced.
Don’t miss Rob on the NCIS: New Orleans finale on Tuesday, May 12th at 9/8c on CBS (check local listings).