NCIS: Sydney appoints agents for local version of hit series

The long-running US franchise has some new Aussie blood.

The long-running US franchise has some new Aussie blood. Photo: Paramount ANZ

Almost 20 years since the major television franchise launched, NCIS has finally found some Australian faces.

The cast of the upcoming Paramount+ and Network Ten show NCIS: Sydney was announced on Tuesday, with Olivia Swann as NCIS special agent Michelle Mackey and Todd Lasance as Australian Federal Police (AFP) Sergeant Jim ‘JD’ Dempsey.

Other key cast members include Sean Sagar as NCIS special agent Deshawn Jackson; Tuuli Narkle as AFP liaison officer, Constable Evie Cooper; Mavournee Hazel as AFP forensic scientist Bluebird ‘Blue’ Gleeson; and William McInnes as AFP forensic pathologist Dr Roy Penrose.

Swann said scoring a role on the show was “a dream come true”.

“I’m still pinching myself,” she wrote on Instagram.

“It’s been a blur of excitement, hard work, the best vibes and constant gratitude. And we’ve only just started.⁣⁣”

Co-star Lassance wrote on his Instagram account: “It’s rare you get to work with such a phenomenal cast, and we can’t wait to bring you all the crime drama, action and humour, all set on the world’s most beautiful harbour.”

Focus on the Indo-Pacific

The show is currently filming in Sydney, and will focus on rising international tensions in the Indo-Pacific.

These tensions will see an eclectic team of US NCIS agents and the AFP “grafted into a multi-national taskforce, to keep naval crimes in check, in the most contested patch of ocean on the planet”.

NCIS: Sydney will be the first international spin-off of the long-running US franchise, which comprises four shows based around the fictional Naval Criminal Investigative Service – the original NCIS, as well as NCIS: Los Angeles, NCIS: New Orleans, and NCIS: Hawai’i.

Since the 2003 NCIS premiere, the franchise has collectively produced almost 1000 episodes across 43 seasons.

With much of the original cast of NCIS having left over the years, including series icon Mark Harmon in 2021, the Australian version could breathe some fresh air into the franchise.

Endemol Shine Australia head of scripted Sara Richardson said NCIS: Sydney has all the DNA of the franchise, but with a “quintessentially Australian flavour”.

“At the heart of NCIS are charismatic and engaging characters that audiences fall in love with,” she said.

“We have found just that with our incredible cast and the tight team they have formed.”

Launchpad for local talent

Although the cast may not be household names just yet, they do bring significant screen experience, with past projects ranging from DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (Swann), to Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant (Sagar).

NCIS: Sydney will also act as a launchpad for local talent behind the scenes, with six early- to mid-career local screenwriters selected in December to work in the show’s script department as part of a 10-week full-time paid program.

“Emerging writers thrive on collaboration and mentorship, hence our excitement for this brilliant initiative,” Paramount ANZ head of drama and executive production Rick Maier said.

“This seat at the table could turn out to be a winner for everyone.”

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