The United States is still experiencing a period of uncertainty in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Production on NCIS and its two spin-offs are hoped to continue soon, and a recent interview with one of the CBS franchise’s key stars has hinted early episodes will be heavily influenced by the pandemic.
Filming of NCIS: New Orleans was put on hold near the end of its sixth instalment, with four episodes left to produce for the 2019-2020 season.
It remains unclear just how influential the coronavirus pandemic will be on television and film storylines when US projects are able to return to set.
As NCIS has a track record of handling real world events, viewers suspected new episodes could be centred around COVID-19 storylines.
Recent comments from Loretta Wade star CCH Pounder have now confirmed NCIS: New Orleans will kick off its new season with a case inspired by the pandemic.
In a conversation with TVLine, Pounder explained she didn’t know how the series would be able to ignore the worldwide crisis.
She revealed: “We are a part of it and we are living in it. And that is when I got the call from [executive producers] Jan Nash and Chris Silber saying, ‘This will be about COVID.’”
Pounder has portrayed medical examiner Dr Loretta Wade since the first season of the New Orleans spin-off, and will continue her role into season seven.
As the face of the show’s forensic scenes, Dr Wade is expected to play a pivotal role in any future COVID-19 storylines going forward.
“So it’s quite a shock to her that she wasn’t listened to, or that it wasn’t that important to this person.”
As well as a general overview of the US’ response to the pandemic, the next episode will specifically touch on how New Orleans dealt with the spread of the virus.
Pounder added: “It’s remarkably reflective of how New Orleans was in terrible shape.
“Until our mayor [LaToya Cantrell], with the help of her governor [John Bel Edwards], really put her foot down and was very, very strict. And then the numbers went down.”
Speaking on Dr Wade’s role, she went on: “I think Loretta will most likely stick her neck out [with an opinion]. I cannot imagine that that wouldn’t happen.”
The long-running star expressed faith in the show’s storytelling, especially after the episode Biased in season six handled a version of the Black Lives Matter movement.
This could mean the Washington-based mainline series and NCIS’ Los Angeles spin-off could also reflect on how the pandemic has been handled in their respective cities.
NCIS New Orleans season 6 is available to stream on CBS All Access.