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Why NCIS: New Orleans’ Series Finale Didn’t Reference LaSalle Or Other Former Characters

lasalle and pride in ncis: new orleans season 5
(Image credit: cbs press)

Spoilers below for the series finale of NCIS: New Orleans, so be warned if you haven't yet watched!

Here in the midst of finale season, it's getting harder to keep track of what's only ending for a few months and which shows are wrapping up for good. Over the weekend, CBS said farewell to its crime drama NCIS: New Orleans with its seventh and final season finale, and the episode somewhat surprisingly ended on a good note for Scott Bakula's Dwayne Pride & Co. (Less so for Callie Thorne's Sasha Broussard, but that's probably fine.) But there was a little less joy for any longtime viewers hoping to see last-minute tributes to Lucas Black's Christopher LaSalle and other former cast members.

It would have been fun to see Lucas Black's LaSalle painting New Orleans red while celebrating Pride and Chelsea Field's Rita getting married, especially with Pride's relatively newfound discovery that he and Sasha had a son together named Connor (as portrayed by Drew Scheid). That obviously couldn't have happened, with LaSalle being shot and killed back in Season 5 in what was arguably the biggest shock of NCIS: NOLA's entire run. The CBS drama's executive producers Christopher Silber and Jan NasH answered some of CinemaBlend's questions about the big series finale, and here's what they had to say about sidestepping references to former characters and cast members:

We have in previous seasons lingered on the dead, and the finale for us was a celebration of life and the future. Of course, we always honor those who have passed in true New Orleans fashion.

To be fair, New Orleans residents tend to honor the dead in much the same way that they honor the living: by drinking and partying with lots of live music involved. So the episode might not have looked any different had the writers indeed injected some kind of memorial element into the series finale. But that wasn't meant to be.

I suppose the episode's title, "Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler," was an immediate sign that NCIS: New Orleans' last episode would focus more on the good times rather than dwelling on mournful looks back at LaSalle's death or Brody and Percy's respective resignations. As nice as it would have been to see Lucas Black, Zoe McLellan and/or Shalita Grant back in the NOLA flow in one way or another, executive producers Christopher Silber and Jan Nash had enough going on by way of wrapping up Sasha and Connor's story in a way that fed into Pride and Rita's future.

As hard as it is for fans to say goodbye to a beloved show such as NCIS: New Orleans, it can be just as hard for the cast and crew to leave the Southern setting that they've grown so accustomed two over the drama's seven seasons. When I asked the EPs what they would miss the most about New Orleans in any capacity, here's how they answered:

New Orleans is a rich, culturally diverse and vibrant city. It has been more than a backdrop to our show, it has been a living, breathing character and has in many ways help direct our stories and character arcs. A true pleasure to shoot there. A city that for many of us from other places now feels like a second home.

As a Louisiana native myself, I can definitely give their assessment of New Orleans a thumbs up, and I can only imagine it's even more fun when hanging out with Scott Bakula and CCH Pounder. Here's hoping we'll get to see the characters popping up elsewhere in the NCIS franchise, from the flagship show to Los Angeles to the upcoming NCIS: Hawaii spinoff.

NCIS: New Orleans has now reached its ultimate conclusion on CBS, but fans can relive the entirety of the spinoff drama streaming on Paramount+ while waiting for the 2021 Summer TV season to take over.

Nick Venable

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.