‘NCIS’ Star Rocky Carroll Explained Why Directing Episodes is So ‘Difficult’

by Suzanne Halliburton
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Rocky Carroll is directing the next new episode of NCIS. And he was in charge of an hour that ran a month ago.

Obviously, the actor who portrays director Leon Vance is getting really good at directing NCIS episodes. But when he first started directing episodes of CBS’ most popular drama, he talked about how difficult it was to work in front of and behind the camera. This was back in 2018, when he spoke with Parade about what it took to direct an NCIS episode about the legal woes of his TV daughter.

“I am still in the embryonic stages of being a television director.” Carroll said in January, 2018. “But each time I do it, I learn a little more. It is really difficult because I want to focus all my energy on one side of the camera or the other, so I still am learning how to split that focus and conserve enough energy so I don’t feel like one side is sacrificing for the other.

“Right now what I feel is: Is my directing going to suffer because I am on the other side of the camera and vice versa? I am sure there are other actors who direct that also feel that same conflict. I don’t feel as if I have enough of these under my belt to spend a lot of time in front of the camera when I direct.”

Cliff Lipson/CBS

Next New NCIS Episode Sports Carroll’s Signature

NCIS returns Jan. 3 with an episode called Pledge of Allegiance. It’s Carroll’s 18th as a director. Here’s the plot summary from CBS: “NCIS is called in when Navy Chief Warrant Officer Rafi Nazar (Artur Zai Benson) is suspected of trying to sell stolen classified Navy software used to pilot combat drones.”

This will be Carroll’s third directed episode of season 19. The first was called Road to Nowhere, which was one of the final appearances by Mark Harmon’s Leroy Jethro Gibbs. In the NCIS hour, Gibbs and Alden Parker (Gary Cole) road tripped with Lemere, the hitman. Gibbs ended up leaving Parker at a local store as he took off with Lemere.

The other NCIS episode this season with Carroll’s directing signature was Peacekeeper, which ran Nov. 29. In it, the agents investigated the death of a Navy reservist. His body was found in a junky car abandoned at a gun range. The episode also had a sentimental nod to Gibbs. After the agents solved the crime — it was an accidental killing with a coverup — Torres brought the car home.

Why was that a nod to Gibbs? Torres plans to fix up the junker. It looks exactly like his first car, which he named Stella after his first girlfriend. And we all know that Gibbs loved to refurbish boats in his basement.

Carroll isn’t the only NCIS cast member who is spending time behind the camera. Brian Dietzen, who plays medical examiner Jimmy Palmer, wrote an episode that NCIS started filming last week.

Outsider.com