NCIS Los Angeles Preview: Shane Brennan Teases Sub Danger, Big Moves in Kensi/Deeks Relationship

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Callen and Sam are all wet in NCIS: LA Season 6 Episode 1... but not in a good way.

If you remember from NCIS: LA Season 5 Episode 24, the twosome ended the spring in a submarine, with their future looking anything but bright.

The season premiere picks up where we left off and - as series creator/executive producer Shane Brennan told me recently - the episode was quite the undertaking due to the use of a submarine, stunt work and, of course, water to contend with.

But what else is coming in the new season? Brennan had much to tease about Hetty's big journey in the first few episodes and it seems we're finally going to see some big emotional moments between Kensi and Deeks that could change their relationship as we know it. (One hint that Brennan offered: this potential romantic relationship won't be dragged out the way DiNozzo and Ziva were on NCIS)

Let's dive in, so to speak, to everything Brennan had to say we'll see in NCIS: Los Angeles Season 6.

TV Fanatic: The premiere is really kick ass, I must say so my first question is what were the biggest challenges in shooting it??

Shane Brennan: Well there were two major challenges and the first was actually the submarine. We did in fact build the tank as well on the Paramount lot so it was a major undertaking. It’s probably one of the biggest set constructions we’ve done on the show and being able to flood it the way we did, all of the stunts that were involved, the water that came through the hull and the pressure, all of that stuff was a pretty big undertaking from everyone involved. And they did an amazing job. I mean, Chris and LL Cool J spent a lot of time wet making this episode…it’s a very big episode.

TVF: Without spoiling what actually happens, are there any repercussions from what happens in the premiere or is the chapter closed?

SB: Well the biggest repercussion to come out of the episode is what happens to Hetty. Hetty does end up in Washington. She cannot get away from that. And the next couple of episodes we find Hetty really under the microscope in Washington, in front of the Senate committee, Senate hearing, and she’s trying to explain to them how she runs her business. If people love Hetty, they are going to love these next two episodes following the premiere.

They are really, really strong episodes. In fact if you look at the season finale for season five, which was continued into the season premiere, the following two episodes from there are also episodes that are to be continued. So we had almost a four episode arc involving the sub and Hetty having to go to Washington and then Hetty’s faced with some pretty intense scrutiny.

TVF: Might that be an opportunity to maybe reveal a little more about her because there’s always so many questions about her past and even her past with Callen and other things?

SB: We reveal a lot about Hetty in these first three episodes. We reveal some pretty fun information, some pretty surprising information and for Hetty it’s not without its heartbreak. We see a return of someone from her past in a fairly major return, so it’s a very Hetty-centric sort of couple episodes after the premiere. The fans are going to love it.

TVF: Tell me where we’re going with Talia being in the mix and this potential triangle with Kensi and Deeks. There are some great scenes in this first episode with them.

SB: Yeah, Mercedes Masohn is just fabulous as Talia. We had such a good time with her last season we said we’re going to bring her back. And the relationship the chemistry between her and Kensi on screen, it’s fabulous. She’s a fun character and we’ll be seeing more of her.

I can tell you that there are some very emotional moments coming up in these first three episodes. There’s one particular moment that is very, very emotional between Kensi and Deeks.  I won’t say any more about it other than that but it’s probably one of the most emotional scenes we’ve had on the show actually. That’s something for people to look out for. It is a very powerful moment. It’s kind of heart wrenching.

TVF: Will it change their relationship in a big way?

SB: I won’t answer that. [laughs] It’s an interesting thing because in the moment it may not necessarily, but you have to believe that such a powerful moment, emotional moment between the two of them will have some impact on their future relationship.

TVF: Beale is one of my favorite characters. And I’ve seen Barrett Foa sing. He’s really amazing.

SB: And he can sing. That may happen at some point. I’m not planning it, but at some point we use everyone’s skills.

TVF: What’s Beale’s piece of the new season?

SB: No one else could play Eric Beale but [Barrett]. He’s just fabulous in that role. The relationship that he has had with Nell really caught us all off guard. There’s a great sort of chemistry between the two of them and we’re always looking for opportunities to play that. There are some fun moments for Beale in these first half dozen episodes. He’s actually out in the field at one point so we get him out of the box and we’re always looking for opportunities to explore what Barrett can do because he’s such a fine actor.

TVF: Everything you’ve told me so far, I would say the first half of the season is more of an emotional journey for everybody than it has been in the past. Do you see it that way?

SB: Yeah, we had been slow with the emotional. We have an action sort of fun show but we don’t steer away from the emotional stuff at all. If we feel the characters are going in that direction we’re very happy to explore it. We’re not scared of exploring it. In terms of the Kensi/Deeks relationship we’re not going to do a DiNozzo/Ziva [from NCIS]. We’re not going to do that. We’re going to explore the relationship to its fullest.

I know people can get a little impatient with those things but you can’t rush into any of this sort of stuff because the audience has to see the journey. The have to see the decision making that goes into a relationship and why some things happen and other things don’t. You can’t just leap to it because it doesn’t feel true. And what we’re trying to do with these characters is explore their relationship in a very honest and true way and that can take time because that’s what happens when you have these sorts of relationships take place at work. You have to be very careful with them so there’s a lot more that come in the Kensi/Deeks relationship, not just this season, but next season too.

We also have for Sam a big surprise coming for him later in the season. And we have a pretty big step up in the Callen story later this season as well and we will certainly be playing a little bit more of Callen backstory and some interesting romantic shifts in his life, too.

TVF: I was going to say, are these more personal stories or more professional stories or a little bit of both?

SB: It’s a little bit of both. I mean the fun we have when we work on the show is finding ways to, as I said, explore these characters in what is sort of a fun action escapist type of show and the cast is just so damn good. You can’t resist writing the material because you know they’re going to deliver it. It really is quite extraordinary how they step up to the challenge and how they can sell a big emotional arc in what is a fun action show.

TVF: Let me ask you just about the day shift to Monday nights. How do you feel about that and being away from the Mothership for the first time on the schedule?

SB: Well look, I think NCIS: Los Angeles is so different for NCIS and then when I created the show that was the mandate I gave myself. I didn’t want a clone of NCIS. I wanted it to be different. I think we provide for people who watch NCIS, it’s kind of a flipside of the coin. Let’s go to LA and see what’s happening.

So I think moving to Monday night, that audience we’ve had for almost since the first episode, we’ve had a hardcore group of people who watch the show and they’re going to find the show on Monday night at ten o’clock. I’m not concerned about that at all.  In terms of standing alone, we’re following the show called Scorpion, which is a really great, serious show that’s got a lot of fun and action and it’s young and I think they’re great companion pieces together.

NCIS:LA premieres tonight in its new Monday at 10/9c time slot on CBS. 

Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of Follow him on Twitter.

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