20 years after NCIS premiered on CBS, not only is the flagship series about to enter its 21st season, the franchise as a whole is still going strong. Sure, NCIS: Los Angeles concluded earlier this year after 14 seasons, and NCIS: New Orleans wrapped up in 2021 after seven seasons, but in addition to NCIS: Hawai’i returning for Season 3, NCIS: Sydney has now joined this procedural family. This is the first NCIS show to be set outside of the United States, and while it will premiere stateside on CBS, it will chiefly be available for Paramount+ subscribers to stream around the world.
Created by Morgan O’Neill, who executive produces alongside Sara Richardson and Sue Seeary, NCIS: Sydney follows agents from the United States’ Naval Criminal Investigative Service teaming up with officers in the Australian Federal Police (AFP) to solve crimes in, you guessed it, Sydney, Australia. Ironically, in real life, the agency's Australian field office is actually located in Perth (per the NCIS website), which is at the other end of the country, but I digress. Ahead of the show’s premiere, let’s go over who’s comprising our main cast of characters.
After making her TV debut in an episode of the British soap opera Doctors, Olive Swann scored what was, until arguably now, her biggest role: Astra Logue in Legends of Tomorrow, the third TV show set in The CW’s Arrowverse franchise. Initially depicted as an antagonist who’d been accidentally been sent to Hell by John Constantine and sought revenge as an adult, she later redeemed herself, became a member of the title team of protagonists and stuck around until Legends of Tomorrow was abruptly cancelled after seven seasons. Now Swann is starring in NCIS: Sydney as Michelle Mackey, the NCIS Special Agent-in-Charge of the law enforcement agency’s Sydney operation. Swann is the second Arrowverse alum to score a leading role in an NCIS show, following Katrina Law, who recurred on Arrow as Nyssa al Ghul, being cast as Jessica Knight on the main NCIS.
If you live in Australia, you’re likely familiar with Todd Lasance from shows like Home and Away, Rescue: Special Ops, Crownies and Bite Club. As for American audiences, he’s best known for playing Julius Caesar in Spartacus: War of the Damned, his two-stint episode on The Flash as Edward Clariss, a.k.a. The Rival, and starring opposite Michael B. Jordan in Without Remorse. In NCIS: Sydney, he’s playing Sergeant Jim “JD” Dempsey, Michelle Mackey’s 2IC AFP counterpart, so expect to see these two in a lot of scenes together.
When Michelle Mackey moves to Sydney, Australia, she’ll be accompanied by fellow NCIS agent DeShawn Jackson, played by Sean Sagar. His major credits include playing Marco in Fate: The Winx Saga, Mal in The Gentlemen, Robbie in Buffering and Charlie “Jizzy” Crow in The Covenant. Presumably Jackson doesn’t have as much experience compared to Mackey, but he’ll undoubtedly be a valued asset in the field.
Most American viewers likely aren’t familiar with Tulli Narkle, but NCIS: Sydney will change that. She’s taking part in the spinoff as Constable Evie Cooper, the AFP Liaison Officer, which reminds of how NCIS: Los Angeles’ Marty Deeks spent a long time on that show as the LAPD’s liaison officer (speaking of which, Eric Christian Olsen is game to appear on Sydney). If you watch Australian TV, then you might have seen her in All My Friends are Racist, Mystery Road: Origin or Bad Behaviour.
Now that we’ve covered the characters who will be chasing down bad guys directly, let’s go over the characters who will assist them from behind closed doors. First, there’s Mavournee Hazel’s Bluebird "Blue" Gleeson, the AFP forensic scientist. In order words, just like Katie Hines on NCIS (and before her, Abby Sciuto until Pauley Perrette left the series after 15 seasons), Blue will be the one analyzing evidence that the field agents bring in and presumably also lend computer expertise. Along with playing Piper Willis from 2015 to 2019 on the Australian soap opera Neighbours, Hazel appeared in two episodes of Shantaram, which can be streamed with an Apple TV+ subscription.
Finally, we have William McInnes, who was cast to play AFP forensic pathologist Roy Penrose, meaning he’s the one conducting the autopsies on bodies brought back to base, just like the late David McCallum’s Ducky Mallard did on NCIS for many years, and Brian Dietzen’s Jimmy Palmer is doing nowadays. McInnes has been acting in Australian productions for over three decades, with some of the movies and TV shows on his resume including The Heartbreak Kid, Dirty Deeds, SeaChange, Blue Heelers, The Slap (the original show, not to be confused with the American adaptation that aired on NBC), Total Control and The Newsreader.
NCIS: Sydney premieres Tuesday, November 14 at 10 pm ET on CBS, and while Paramount+ with SHOWTIME subscribers will also be able to watch live, people who have Paramount+ Essential will have to wait until the day after to stream the episode. Peruse our 2023 TV schedule to learn what other shows are coming out before the year is over, and keep your eyes peeled on CinemaBlend for news on when NCIS and NCIS: Hawai’i will resume airing.