How One Actor Got Cast On All 4 NCIS Shows As Completely Different Characters
A casting executive explains how one actor has the unique milestone of appearing on all four NCIS shows, playing a different character each time.
A casting executive details how one actor ended up on all four NCIS shows, playing a completely different character each time. In the realm of long-running TV procedurals, it can be a matter of convenience and necessity to occasionally rely on the same actors to fill bit parts. Emmy winner Camryn Manheim appeared on the original Law & Order as three different characters, for example, before she joined the recent revival series as a main cast member.
But as reported by Variety, actor Kurt Yaeger made history with his recent guest appearance on NCIS Hawai’i. Yaeger is thought of as the first actor to appear on every NCIS show, during the franchise’s history on CBS, as totally different characters. That includes the original NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles, NCIS: New Orleans, and NCIS: Hawai’i. CBS casting executive Claudia Lyon elaborated on Yaeger’s accomplishment in the quote below, shedding light on how it came about:
“Given how long these franchises have been in existence, there will inevitably be some crossover with actors. We don’t have statistics on how often that happens, but I wouldn’t be surprised. There are many actors out there who do one or two of them. But what makes Kurt unique is that he’s done all four.
“It’s just sort of the perfect storm. A lot of things that have come into play. First of all, Kurt starts with talent. He’s got this tenacity and perseverance where he is able to create opportunities for himself… and we’ve got producers who like Kurt, and have been interested in working with him after they saw what he could do the first or second or third time on a show. You’ve got casting directors who are really invested in Kurt as well. He’s a talent, so we want to support him. It’s pretty remarkable that he’s doing all of them.”
Kurt Yaeger’s History With NCIS Explained
Yaeger, who also appeared on shows like The Good Doctor, the Quantum Leap revival, and Shameless, first made his NCIS debut in 2014. He appeared in the original series as former Marine Sgt. Freddie Linn. The character loses the use of his legs when a shattered body-armor plate hits his spinal cord, later beginning a successful skydiving business. Yaeger is a disabled actor and writer in real life, having lost his leg in a 2006 motorbike accident.
Yaeger next showed up on NCIS: New Orleans in the role of Kevin Simms, a law enforcement officer who has a life-altering injury. His most notable appearance, however, was in NCIS: Los Angeles. Appearing in five episodes between 2016 and 2017, he portrayed a slick military veteran and leg amputee named Sullivan. Ultimately, however, Sullivan turned out to be Ferris, a rogue CIA officer out for revenge. Still, despite his varied history in the franchise, Yaeger spoke about his particular fondness for his guest role in NCIS: Hawai’i season 2
In the episode “Bread Crumbs”, Yaeger portrays the father of Jane Tennant (Vanessa Lachey) in flashbacks. “The [character] has nothing to do with disabilities,” Yaeger reflected. “It’s starting to change where people are like, ‘Well, you can play any character.’” In that sense, Yaeger’s milestone is not only a cool piece of trivia in the NCIS franchise, but an affirmation of the fact that those with a disability can step into all sorts of different performances.