The genesis of this episode was the return of NCIS Probationary Agent Ned Dorneget, played by Matt L. Jones. "Dorney" was introduced in this year's episode "Sins of the Father," where he had the duty of "babysitting" Anthony DiNozzo, Sr., a murder suspect. The cast and crew found the actor and his character charming and funny, and Gary Glasberg asked us to write an episode teaming him up with former probie Timothy McGee.
Curiously, the director of the episode, Michelle MacLaren, was new to "NCIS" but had worked with Matt on several episodes of "Breaking Bad," a show on which she functions as co-executive producer. Working with Michelle was a pleasure. She arrived well-versed in "NCIS" and knew the characters and their peccadilloes. And, to be sure, Dorney will be returning in episodes to come.
In constructing the story, we needed a "heavy" and recalled an NCIS nemesis who had appeared in two previous episodes ("Broken Arrow" and "Kill Screen"). Agah Bayar, played smoothly and mysteriously by Tamer Hassan, makes a great foil for Gibbs and the team.
While the shoot went smoothly…there was one unexpected moment. In the middle of a take in the autopsy room, R.J. Wagner walked into the shot to surprise Mark Harmon, David McCallum, and the actor playing a body on the table. He was "in the neighborhood" and dropped by for lunch. It's a shot sure to make this year's gag reel – and R.J. is a beloved presence on set, whether he's in the episode or not!
Frank Cardea & George Schenck