Will Tony DiNozzo get down and funky with his bad self on Tuesday's "NCIS" (8 p.m. on CBS)? Well, probably not, but he will have his hands, and ears, full when he's charged with keeping an '80s rocker safe.
In "Rock and a Hard Place," DiNozzo and company are called into action when a bomb detonates in the dressing room at a military charity concert. The performer: Manheim Gold, a veteran rocker who will keep DiNozzo on his toes as Tony tries to keep him alive and kicking.
And playing the country rock god: Keith Carradine, the "Deadwood" and "Dexter" actor who won a Best Original Song Oscar in 1976 for "I'm Easy," a tune he wrote and sang in Robert Altman's "Nashville."
See Carradine performing "I'm Easy":
"They came to me with this offer to play this part. When I read it, I thought, 'Well, that will be fun,'" Carradine says of playing the character described by the network as a "washed-up '80s rocker."
Watch a preview of Carradine on "NCIS":
"Yes, that's the concept, although I have to admit that my own personal era was more the '70s," he adds. "It's somewhat nebulous, the actual time frame, and a lot of the choices that I made reflected my own history. He's a throwback. This is a guy who's never let it go. His hair is still past his shoulders, and he still has a mustache à la David Crosby. He wears a lot of Navajo jewelry. The bolo tie ... I actually brought a lot of my own stuff that I've had for a long time, that I've always kept. There's a Zuni bolo tie and a Navajo concho belt that I'm wearing [in the episode]. A lot of [Manheim's] appearance reflects that kind of sensibility — the long hair and the heavy metal look, although he's more country oriented, more country rock in his look."
In addition to seeing his personal wardrobe, viewers will also hear one of Carradine's own songs in the "NCIS" episode: "Every Road," a song he wrote for the movie "Lake City."
"There's also a terrific song that this fellow, John Cate, wrote called 'Phone,'" Carradine says. "The refrain is, 'When the phone don't ring, I'll know it's you.' It's a pretty clever song. We actually went in, and I put my vocal on it, which is what they use in the show."
The guest spot was especially fun for Carradine, he says, because music is his real love. "If I could figure out a way to pay the rent by just playing music, that's certainly what I would do. And it was great fun to play this guy.
"There's a lot of comedy in this show. While they're investigating a real and violent crime, surrounding that investigation ... my character, he's just such a throwback. It gave me opportunities to poke fun at my own generation in that way. Plus, Mark Harmon and I are old friends. We go way back. It was nice to finally have a chance to work with him, although I spent most of my time working with Michael Weatherly. We had a great time."
His guest spot also has Carradine thinking about more TV work. He co-stars in FX's upcoming limited-run series adaptation of the Oscar-winning movie "Fargo," and he says he's definitely open to returning to another CBS series, "The Big Bang Theory," in which he has guest-starred as Wyatt, father of Kaley Cuoco's Penny.
"My attention is on wherever the best writing is, and these days, most of the really good writing is in television. The really inventive stuff is being done on television.
"The budgetary constraints of filmmaking are so intense. Also, the economics of movies have changed to the point where the kind of stuff one used to expect from the big screen is now more under the aegis of television. There are just so many outlets that you can go to now in television. I'm looking to go wherever the material is that's well-written and is going to take me into areas that might be new for me to explore."
"NCIS" airs Tuesday at 8 p.m. on CBS.
"Fargo" premieres April 15 at 10 p.m. on FX.