‘NCIS: New Orleans’ Alum Zoe McLellan Talked Coming ‘Full Circle’ from ‘Jag’

by Quentin Blount

If you have ever wondered about the back story behind former NCIS: New Orleans star Zoe McLellan and her time on JAG, look no further.

Zoe McLellan is without a doubt best known for her roles in JAG and NCIS: New Orleans. In addition to those shows, however, she also appeared in things like Star Trek: Voyager, Dirty Sexy Money, Designated Survivor, House, and The Mentalist.

McLellan first joined the cast of the CBS procedural JAG in 2001. If you are a longtime fan of the show, you can probably recall that she played the role of Navy Petty Officer Jennifer Coates. By the final season of the show, she was promoted to a series regular.

Fast forward a few years later, and Zoe McLellan found herself in a familiar spot. She wasn’t starring on JAG any longer, but she was starring on one of its spin-offs — NCIS: New Orleans. She was cast in the lead female role but ended up leaving after two seasons.

Now, you would think that both roles would share some common ground being that NCIS: New Orleans is a spin-off of NCIS, which is a spin-off of JAG. But nope. McLellan says that the two characters were nothing alike. She explained as much during a 2015 sit-down with Smashing Interviews.

“I think those two characters are in such completely different worlds,” McLellan said. “Even though I know this is a spinoff of a spinoff, I don’t ever really think about Petty Officer Jennifer Coates and Meredith Brody in the same world because they’re such completely different shows. It was such a long time ago.”

Former ‘NCIS: New Orleans’ Star Found Common Ground with Mark Harmon

You could say that perhaps Zoe McLellan never actually had a full-circle moment in relation to her characters. But she did say one thing that gave her that feeling, and that was chatting with everyone’s favorite NCIS star, Mark Harmon.

“I guess the one thing that does make me feel full circle, though, is when I chat with mark Harmon or some of the crew members that are working on NCIS and have been there for years on the mothership NCIS and on JAG.”

You can definitely see why that would make it feel full circle for her. Despite the characters she played being complete opposites, a good chunk of McLellan’s life was spent acting in both JAG and NCIS: New Orleans. That means that she got to know all kinds of cast and crew members pretty well.

“That brings me back and makes me smile,” she said. “That’s pretty cool. But in terms of being out here in New Orleans and playing this character, they’re just so different. They’re in such different worlds.”