‘NCIS: Los Angeles’: Daniela Ruah Meeting ‘Military Personnel’ Taught Her About Show’s ‘Dark Humor’

by John Jamison

“NCIS: Los Angeles” often finds its main characters in life-threatening situations. After all, no self-respecting crime drama could get away with anything less.

But the show is also known to have a comedic edge. And as fans of TV and movies know, a degree of levity is always welcome in an otherwise terrifying situation. Kensi Blye actress Daniela Ruah was confused by the humor when she first joined the show.

After talking to some of the people who have actually done these dangerous jobs before, the “NCIS: Los Angeles” actress realized that it’s all part of the human psyche.

For reference, Daniela Ruah’s husband, David Paul Olsen, is a retired Navy SEAL. He also happens to be the brother of Ruah’s on-screen husband. That being Eric Christian Olsen, who plays Marty Deeks in “NCIS: Los Angeles.” Yes, it’s a little confusing. But keep up because we haven’t gotten to the good part yet.

Long story short, Daniela Ruah was jarred by the moments of dark humor she encountered in the “NCIS: Los Angeles” scripts. In situations where characters could very easily die, they were joking around with one another. It didn’t seem to gel for her.

But then she talked to various military personnel. They ranged from consultants on the show to her own husband. Ruah came to understand that humor was the product of a very real psychological device.

“As I understand from the real military personnel, who I’ve had the opportunity to speak to over the last few years, humor is very much used to diffuse stress,” Ruah told Parade in 2018. “I think that if they were to keep it as serious as the situations often are, there would be a lot more nervous breakdowns.”

The ‘NCIS: Los Angeles’ Star Embraced the Dark Humor Fully

No one’s saying that you should be joking around with an intruder in the house. As a device, the use of levity mostly applies to people who have chosen to put themselves in dangerous situations as their profession.

In other words, you’ll often find it in folks who know they’re walking into something life-threatening. They need ways to keep a positive mindset. A group of firemen might joke around as they prepare to enter a burning building. More specifically, a special agent in “NCIS: Los Angeles,” or a real NCIS agent for that matter, might find some comfort in a wisecrack during a gunfight.

“So once that was said to me and quieted my mouth, now it’s a natural thing for us to do. It almost doesn’t make sense not to have a shootout without a little bit of humor added in,” Ruah continued in the interview.

Clearly, Ruah took the information to heart. And conveniently, the reality-based dark humor makes for a more entertaining action scene anyway.