‘NCIS’ Star Rocky Carroll Opened Up on the Conflict Actors Have with Show’s Success

by Anna Dunn

NCIS actor and director Rocky Carroll once opened up about the complex emotions that come with being on a show like NCIS. NCIS is wildly successful in the ratings and provides actors with a ton of stability. But it’s not necessarily a walk in the park for actors that decide to sign on.

A lot of actors crave a challenge. Crave working on something critically acclaimed. NCIS is fun and has earned a place as one of the major network procedurals, but it’s not necessarily what an actor might dream of being on.

In a discussion with Parade, the actor talked about his own character, Vance, and why he thinks so many actors have left NCIS and shows like it.

“You crave [stability] when it happens but there is always that thing that whispers in your ear, “What else can you do?” What are you going to do next?” I think it is part of the creative process,” he said. “It is like I said, you don’t want to make the same album over and over again, even if that album is successful.”

This leads to a lot of burnout. Tons of actors leave hit series like NCIS to pursue other creative projects with the potential for more acclaim and creativity.

“I think a lot of creative people are conflicted because there is the financial success and the audience response to something. Everybody around you says, ‘Hey, just keep doing that,'” he explained. But actors are artists first. And the traditional need for stability and numerical success won’t always cut it.

“I think an artist’s natural response is to continue to grow and evolve,” he said.

Rocky Carroll has Learned to Adapt to ‘NCIS’ Cast Changes

On long-running procedural shows like NCIS, changes to the cast are essentially inevitable. With actors like Cote De Pablo, Michael Weatherly, Pauley Perrette, Emily Wickersham, and Mark Harmon all leaving the series in recent years, the show has undergone plenty of adjustments.

But while Carroll has admitted that departures like this do affect him, he and the rest of the cast and crew have learned how to deal with it at this point. A few years ago, the actor and director talked about it with Assignmentx

“I think it does affect me,” he said. “But I think it’s in a very positive way, because I think we have such loyal fans and such a strong fan base, but going on fifteen seasons now, we adjust and we adapt.” 

NCIS is going on a winter hiatus soon, but if you want to catch the next episode directed by Rocky Carroll, you won’t have to wait long. Carroll directs the first episode of 2022 which will air on Monday, January 3rd, at 9/8 CT.