Shane Brennan Interview 29/09/09This is a featured page



NCIS: Shane Brennan Tells All!
by Chris Willman September 29, 2009 01:14 PM EST

<i>NCIS</i>: Shane Brennan Tells All!

In this exclusive Q&A, NCIS executive producer Shane Brennan tells tvguidemagazine.com about his plans for this season. Come back tomorrow to read his thoughts on NCIS: Los Angeles. And be sure to pick up the new issue of TV Guide Magazine, on news-stands Oct. 1, with NCIS: LA stars Chris O'Donnell and LL Cool J on the cover!

TV GUIDE: With NCIS, everyone has been focused for a while on what would happen with Tony and Ziva, which has yet to be completely resolved. But is there any other character you have a special arc planned for on season 7?

SHANE BRENNAN: Abby has a very special arc. And McGee has a very special arc. The Tony/Ziva thing we’ll be resolving that in a way that the audience… [pause]… the vast bulk of the audience will find very satisfying. And with Gibbs, what can you say? The boat’s gone from the basement. What the hell is Gibbs gonna put in there? He’s on a particular journey as well. I will say that the basement will feature in a number of episodes, and it is very, very empty, and Gibbs is very, very aware how empty it is. I’ll just say the boat returns.

So, the boat gets used…
The boat returns. I didn’t say “used”… The boat returns in a most unexpected way

You mean it returns to the show, or actually returns to the basement?
You’ll have to wait and see. It’s a very cool episode. It’ll be in the [November] sweep. What does a man build in his basement now? We could probably run a competition. Because we’ve been thinking of all of the possibilities. It’s been a long time. We see him with a tape measure at one point. What’s he got in mind?

At the end of last season, Gibbs was getting revelations about the death of Ziva’s brother all that time ago, leaving the audience to wonder who was telling the truth in all that and what it meant. Is that something you’re going to continue to play with?
Not for long. There’ll be answers to those questions. Just as in life, you have episodes in life where things are very important to you, and they may be for years, but eventually that journey ends and another one starts. And we’re at one of those points in NCIS, where things that have been happening for three or four years reach a conclusion, and there’s a new beginning. And that happens four episodes in. Now, that’s kind of tantalizing, isn’t it?

“A new beginning”—could you be more specific?
Not really. I could, but… it’s been building. And the fans are not gonna be disappointed. No one’s gonna leave. No one’s gonna die. NO ONE’S GONNA DIE!… And then the show will settle back into its very comfortable self. I like to take them out on the roller coaster, and ease them back in… and then pound them again

Looking at fan posts online, you can see that half the people wish Tony and Ziva would get together, and the other half say that would absolutely be the worst thing ever. Based on what you know, do you think fans have been satisfied with how that wrapped up? Or maybe not wrapped up.
Yeah, I was gonna say, what makes you think it’s wrapped up? [Yes, it’s] half and half, and in the middle is the tightrope that we have to walk. We have to try to at some point play a little to one side, and make those people happy, and then play to the other side and make those people happy. At the same time, you need to try to move forward, because the worst thing you could do is not let the characters grow. And relationships change constantly. I’ve been married 30 years, so my relationship with my wife is constantly changing. If it wasn’t, we would have been divorced 20 years ago. Your instincts change in the way that life changes. So in many respects, that’s what Tony and Ziva are faced with now: How do they move forward after what’s happened? And which direction is forward?

Are you swayed by fan reaction?

I wouldn’t say I’m swayed, but I’m always open to listening to the audience, because they have so much invested in the show that I’d be a fool not to. And what that can do is, it can spark a thought which you may have never had. You may not do what they want, but it may give you an idea to do something you wouldn’t have done. I’m a great believer in having some sort of interface with the audience. Back in the old days you’d get a letter and think “Ooh, I’ve got a letter from a fan! What did she say?” Now, you get 5000 a day, and you’ve got to be careful you don’t just cherry-pick those that support what you want to do. I spend a bit of time trolling everything, trying to get a feeling for [fan opinions]. And it’s not about trying to please everyone, because you can’t, because you crash and burn. But it helps you find stories that may excite people, something a bit different.



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