NCIS: New Orleans began making headlines for some unpleasant reasons at the end of 2017 when news broke that showrunner Brad Kern had been investigated by Human Resources for misconduct, pointing toward some serious trouble behind the scenes. Kern was eventually replaced as showrunner by the show's executive producer, and that seemed to be the end of it. Now, however, Kern is being investigated again despite the fact that CBS renewed their contract with him. Here's what we know.

The first two investigations into Brad Kern's alleged misconduct were internally conducted by CBS, and the ousting of Brad Kern seemed to indicate that there was enough to the allegations that NCIS: New Orleans would continue without him in the top job. CBS Television Studios is now kicking off another investigation, but with a key difference this time: the investigation will be handled by an outside investigator. The search for an outside party to handle the renewed investigation (as reported by THR) may point toward CBS wanting to 100% settle where they stand with Kern. The investigation will likely go beyond what was explored in the previous expectations and explore any new complaints against the former showrunner.

Now, if the ousting of Brad Kern from the top job at NCIS: New Orleans had resulted in him leaving the show and network entirely, the external investigation would have come as a big surprise. News of the new investigation comes after CBS Television signed a new deal with Kern that keeps him on board with the studio for another two years. That is somewhat surprising given the amount of negative buzz Kern's involvement with New Orleans caused at the end of 2017 and throughout the first half of 2018.

That said, Brad Kern is still closely involved with the show, and his ousting as showrunner was not a firing. He'll continue to work out of the writing offices at NCIS: New Orleans, and sources report that Kern has been present in the writers room ever since it opened back up in the end of May and the plan is for him to contribute to writing the episodes for now, then work with the show's editors when production on Season 5 begins. He's credited as a "consulting producer."

Sources from the series also state that the "toxic" atmosphere allegedly fostered by Brad Kern has continued even after the conclusion of the second human resources investigation, with comments that were reportedly racially insensitive and involved mistreating colleagues in vindictive ways. One of those colleagues was apparently a nursing mother.

Only time will tell if the new external investigation into Brad Kern will impact his involvement with NCIS: New Orleans. The new two-year deal points toward CBS wanting to continue collaboration with him, but that could potentially change if the investigation confirms some undeniably awful behavior. We'll have to wait and see.

NCIS: New Orleans will return to CBS on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET in the fall. For what you can watch while hiatus continues, take a look at our summer TV premiere schedule.

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