Of all the TV shows that are coming to a permanent close in 2021, one of the biggest surprises has to be CBS' NCIS: New Orleans, which is being sent up the (Mississippi) river after Season 7. Even beyond the tropey jokes about NCIS dramas staying on the air for all eternity, the Scott Bakula-fronted crime drama managed to earn reasonably consistent numbers across its various time-slot changes over the years. And that core fanbase is part of the reason why even Bakula himself was taken aback by the cancellation news when it dropped.
Having previous fronted two series (among many) that built up fanatical fandoms - with Quantum Leap and Star Trek: Enterprise - Scott Bakula is well-seasoned when it comes to ending shows that fans don't want to say goodbye to. While he hasn't spoke up much about the cancellation news in recent months, the actor shared his thoughts on the matter with TV Insider, saying:
This being the last season, going out in the middle of a pandemic, I didn’t think it was going to happen. I’m surprised the show was cancelled.
Clearly, the decision to cancel NCIS: New Orleans was made by execs pretty high on the CBS food chain, if a long-term star and industry vet like Scott Bakula is kept out of the loop entirely. One might assume that if NCIS: NOLA's showrunner Christopher Silber had been clued in early on, he might have given the cast and crew and inkling that the end was nigh. Alas, it doesn't seem like things played out that way.
Giving fans credit for following the show from its time-switches on Tuesday nights to its sometimes-delayed-by-NFL-games Sunday night airings, Scott Bakula said:
We’ve had a great run. They’ve been very supportive. They seem to have liked the show, they like the stories we told, the characters on the show, and that’s why we do it. We do it because we want people to grow a relationship and attach and invite us into their homes and we don’t take that lightly. I never have. I honor them and we have always had a great relationship and I look forward to continuing that in the future.
By all means, Scott Bakula will likely be talking to fans about NCIS: New Orleans for the rest of his career, such is the power of his character Dwayne Pride, who will cap off the series' seven-season run with a big wedding. Pride will be marrying Rita, who's played by Bakula's real-life wife Chelsea Field, so hopefully filming that final episode gave everyone a good sense of closure. Not that it's impossible for Pride to show up elsewhere in the franchise in the years to come.
Plus, just because it's losing one spinoff doesn't mean the NCIS franchise is actually shrinking, since CBS has already put in a series order for the beach-bound spinoff NCIS: Hawaii, which will be the franchise's first series led by a female character. Plus, we have new seasons of NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles to look forward to in the fall. Before all that, though, fans still have to watch the final episodes of NCIS: New Orleans, which will air Sunday nights on CBS at 10:00 p.m. ET.