‘NCIS: Los Angeles’: Here’s the Career Path Eric Christian Olsen Walked Away From to Star in the Series

by Madison Miller

Eric Christian Olsen got a very particular and devoted fan base when he joined “NCIS: Los Angeles” as NCIS Investigator Marty Deeks.

Before he got his start on “NCIS: Los Angeles,” you could catch Olsen on shows like “Community,” “Brothers & Sisters,” “The Loop,” “Get Real,” and “Tru Calling,” amongst others.

Fans grew to love Marty Deeks, the investigative ex-undercover cop with a silly personality and a mysterious past.

However, it seems like Eric Christian Olsen’s past is just as interesting and mysterious. The Owen Wilson look-a-like is known for his physical-comedy talents. Therefore, a show about cops and murder seemed to be out of his comfort zone. Regardless, he has been growing and evolving with his character for 12 seasons on “NCIS: Los Angeles.”

Before he was trying to make it in TV and film, Olsen was trying to master recipes in the kitchen.

Eric Christian Olsen Cooking Career

According to an interview with Vulture from 2011, the actor revealed he once tried to do two movies a year. This required him to leave L.A. for about six months each time. However, the year that “NCIS: Los Angeles” started, Olsen decided he wanted to stay put in L.A. for that year.

He said that during the pilot season he would go to auditions and different meetings during the day. Then at night, he would go to Le Cordon Bleu for culinary school.

When the opportunity to be on “NCIS: Los Angeles” came up, Olsen dropped out of culinary school. He replaced his cutting knives for a handgun and a seasons-long acting gig with millions of viewers every week.

What is it that made Olsen first want to pursue cooking?

“I knew I was going to be doing pilot season, and the idea of just doing that without scattering in new information didn’t sound appealing. At culinary school, none of the things we use to define ourselves outside that world — actor, producer, student — none of that matters. It’s a magical art form,” Olsen said to Vulture.

An aspiring actor by day, soon-to-be chef by night. Olsen was so devoted to learning and getting the most out of his life. He couldn’t choose one.

“I was only in there for six weeks of an eight-month course before I had to drop out to start filming, but I’ll go back. You’re doing five hours a night, and you’re doing three entrees and two appetizers and side dishes and sauces, and you’ve got six stoves going and there’s fire everywhere — and it becomes zen. It’s like a runner’s high,” Olsen said.

‘NCIS: Los Angeles’ Star Forgets He Isn’t A Cop

Eric Christian Olsen got used to being handed a massive real gun and running toward large explosions. He’s been playing Deeks for about 12 years.

In many ways, he had trained his mind to think like a cop or a detective. In a 2017 interview with Conan O’Brien, Olsen talked about how he’s become alarmingly used to running into the path of action.

He once called 911 after an accident and emergency on the freeway. He gives the operator some incredibly detailed information and accidentally lets the word “pursuit” slip from his lips.

If that wasn’t enough, Olsen then is convinced that there is someone kidnapped in the back of one of the crashed vans. “So I jump out of my car and I run to the front of the van and I go ‘Hello, is anyone in there,’ … and there’s no response. That means one thing — that they’ve been handcuffed and bound and taped,” Olsen said.

He even goes as far as to do a “tactical breach” into the car. Olsen discovers nothing but gets everyone’s attention on the road when he’s holding his finger like it’s a gun.