It was a leap of faith,” Scott Bakula says of heading to the Big Easy with wife Chelsea Field last fall. They were going to shoot an NCIS: New Orleans storyline we’d all been waiting for: the romantic reunion of Special Agent Dwayne Pride and his Washington, D.C.–based lawyer girlfriend, Rita Devereaux—who decides to move in. The start of production had been delayed due to the raging COVID pandemic, the city was mostly shuttered, and the actors worried an outbreak on set could halt filming. It never crossed their minds that Season 7 would be the crime procedural’s last.
News of the cancellation came while shooting Episode 13 in February. “It was painful,” says Jan Nash, who executive produces the CBS series with Christopher Silber, “but it was a blessing to have enough time to make adjustments and a finale that feels very true to New Orleans.” The centerpiece is Pride and Rita’s wedding, guaranteed to laissez les bon temps rouler (“let the good times roll”). We spoke with the down-to-earth actors about the nuptials, saying goodbye to both their friends and their adopted city, and what’s next.
ON THE BIG DAY
Fittingly for a grown-up, confident, fun-loving couple, Pride and Rita marry in a down-home backyard bash—and the bride wears red. (“She’s not a virgin!” Field says, laughing.) Because Pride’s mother, Mena (Joanna Cassidy), has Alzheimer’s and her health is declining, the event comes together quickly. Guests gather in the garden of coroner Loretta Wade (CCH Pounder), Pride’s “rock, best friend and touchstone,” per Bakula. Naturally she officiates!
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