NCIS Newcomer Emily Wickersham Reacts to Bishop's Approval Rating and 'Perfect' Criticism
Laying claim to the NCIS desk that someone else occupied for nearly 200 episodes — and on TV’s most watched drama, no less — was a “very big thing” for Emily Wickersham (The Sopranos, The Bridge). But based on the results of a TVLine reader poll and viewer reaction to date, the transition has gone as well as anyone could reasonably expect.
Though Wickersham never crossed paths with predecessor Cote de Pablo (“I would love to meet her someday,” she shares), she absolutely appreciates the significance of filling the void created in the wake of Agent Ziva David’s departure. As NCIS resumes Season 11 this Tuesday at 8/7c, TVLine spoke with Ellie Bishop’s portrayer about joining the CBS drama and soon exposing her character’s less-than-perfect traits.
TVLINE | After your first episode, we put up a poll asking readers for their first impression of Bishop. Seventy-eight percent either “love” or “like” her. Is that number pleasantly surprising for you?
Oh wow. Yeah. That’s really nice to hear. I know it’s a weird change for a lot of these viewers, so that’s really nice. I like hearing that a lot.
TVLINE | You’re surrounded at NCIS by people who have been on the show for nine, 10 years. Was there any advice as you kind of entered this lion’s den, this tricky transition?
I think everyone knew it was going to be a bit of a bumpy start, but the writing is so great here and the way they wrote Bishop was so wonderful. She’s not an intimidating character. She’s really excited to be here. She’s determined. She’s charming in her own weird ways. I think she’s non-threatening, which I hope comes across. You know?
TVLINE | Gary Glasberg told me that you “brought some fun stuff to the table” in creating the character. Such as…? Maybe the sitting on desks?
Oh, well that’s nice to hear. As I said, she was written so well, but from the beginning I set about finding those little quirks and looking for little things to bring out in her. So yeah, for example, sitting on the desk was something I did in the [audition] that was brought into each episode. Then they brought in the funny food associations, where she’ll remember what she was eating when she was studying certain facts, which I thought was quirky and cool.
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TVLINE | What’s the sum total of her backstory that you know thus far?
Well, Ellie is from a big family in Oklahoma, a Midwestern girl…. We know that she is married, though we don’t really know much about Bishop’s husband yet.
TVLINE | Isn’t he a lawyer? Haven’t we heard or read that much?
I’m not sure what’s been revealed, to be honest, but it’s a storyline that I’m really looking forward to getting to know more about. I think it’ll be fun to see where Bishop comes from. She has three older brothers, which I think makes the transition to hanging out with the NCIS crew easier. She’s used to being surrounded “by the guys”….
TVLINE | …taking guff and teasing, that kind of stuff.
Yeah. Yeah. That’s been a part of her whole life thus far, so that comes easily to her.