It’s difficult to imagine “NCIS: New Orleans” without Dr. Loretta Wade. Wade, played by actress CCH Pounder, was the resident coroner on the show. It was her job to examine the bodies for clues that could help in the investigation involving the deceased. Not only was she a highly skilled coroner but Wade was also an upbeat and essential member of the team. She was also a beloved mother to two adopted sons. Wade first appeared in season one and fans quickly fell in love solidifying her spot on the show for all seven seasons.
However, during an interview in 2018, Pounder revealed that she had some hesitations about taking on the role of Dr. Wade on “NCIS: New Orleans.” She said that she wasn’t sure that another “NCIS” spin-off would be successful.
“I’ll be honest,” said Pounder. “I just didn’t think that CBS could sustain yet another ‘NCIS.'”
Why CCH Pounder Had Reservations About Accepting Her Role On ‘NCIS: New Orleans’
Luckily, Pounder was wrong about that. After its premiere in 2014, the show continued to air for a healthy seven seasons. However, there was more to Pounder’s reservations about the role than just ratings. Before the show, Pounder was a well-seasoned actress. She played roles for shows including “The Shield”, “ER” and “Law & Order: SVU.” She said, as a black woman, many of her roles in movies and on television were very two-dimensional. She added that many of her characters had only one trait: strength. And she said that she wanted to make sure that her character on “NCIS: New Orleans” was different.
“We play a person in authority, but with no relations, no daughter, no husband, no nothing. Just a judge or a policeman sitting behind a desk,” Pounder said. “Give them a family member, give them a flaw, give them something else to create the humanness of the character!”
Luckily, Pounder accepted the role of Dr. Wade and brought life, layers and dimension to the character. The final season of the show featured Dr. Wade as she dealt with the COVID crisis while also navigating her son’s desire to get involved with the Black Lives Matter movement. The episodes shined a light on just how difficult 2020 was, especially for women of color.
“She’s not Superwoman,” said Pounder of her character. “I think this is one of the things we tend to assume about strength — particularly about women of color. You’re so accustomed to the stalwart, the stoic. When she starts to crack, it makes you frightened.”
Although “NCIS: New Orleans” will not be returning for an eighth season, we’re grateful for the way Pounder brought Dr. Loretta Wade to life during the show’s seven-season run.