After spending years portraying a cop on the popular CBS television series NCIS: Los Angeles, Eric Christian Olsen sometimes has a hard time getting out of character.
The 44-year-old sat down for an interview with Conan O’Brien on his show back in 2017. In the hilarious interview, the two talk about how once you play a cop for so long, it’s almost like you become one.
“You’ve been playing a law enforcement agent now for seven years,” O’Brien tells Olsen. “And all day long on these shows you have to get there early in the morning, put on the makeup, get the prop gun, and then all day long you’re playing a law enforcement agent. Do you ever feel like a cop after all this time? I only bring it because once I was dressed as a cop for some bit we were doing and literally, they put on the suit, and for five minutes I wandered away from the set and started to tell people to ‘move it along.’ Did you ever have that?”
Wilson said that he doesn’t quite take it to that level. But he can relate to being the guy who always runs to the action instead of away from it.
“Well, no. Because that would be delusional,” Olsen laughed. “I think that, ya know, we’ve done 195 episodes or something insane. Which is like 15,000 hours of playing a cop. What’s crazy about this is that you go to work, and they give you a real gun — they give you like an M-9 or some kind of massive machine gun. And some explosion happens or something crazy happens and they yell, ‘Action!’ And then you run towards it. So, instinctually, when something goes wrong, you find yourself being the guy that runs toward the action.”
‘NCIS: Los Angeles’ Star Shares a Real-Life Story Where He Thought He Was a Cop
Olsen, the NCIS: Los Angeles star, even shared a story where all of his “cop training” as an actor kicked in in real life.
“I’m driving on the 10 freeway. I’m in the far left lane and this black, windowless van blows by me on the corner in the side lane and hits the Porsche in front of me, knocking off their mirror. I could hear the woman scream from my car.”
So what did Olsen do? The only thing any reasonable person would have done in the same situation — call 911. The thing he did that wasn’t as reasonable, however, was continue to follow the van.
“911 what is your emergency? I said, ‘There’s a black, windowless van traveling eastbound on the 10 freeway. License plate Tango Charlie 371,” Olsen recalled to laughter from the audience.
“The woman goes, ‘Okay, where are you right now?’ I said, ‘Well, I’m on 10. We are now crossing under the 405 under pursuit. And she goes, ‘What?!’ And I go, ‘What?!’ She said, ‘I’m sorry sir, did you just say pursuit?’ I said, ‘No, no, no, no!’ And she goes, ‘Sir, are you following the vehicle? Sir, do not follow the vehicle. We have called officers. Do not follow the vehicle!”
You can watch the entire interview with the NCIS: Los Angeles star down below: