“Love, and friendship, and celebration” will be in good supply before CBS’ NCIS: Los Angeles fades to black. That’s the good word from series vet Daniela Ruah ahead of Part 1 of the series finale, which airs this Sunday at 10/9c. (Part 2 wraps things up on May 21 at 9 pm, leading into a one-hour retrospective special.)
Of course, longtime fans of the OG NCIS offshoot have definite thoughts about what needs to happen during the series-ending two-parter. And in TVLine’s final NCIS: LA Q&A with Ruah, Kensi Blye’s portrayer (who has also directed a half-dozen episodes) sizes up TVLine readers’ wish list, as well as shares what her own hopes were for the high-octane drama’s swan song.
TVLINE | When you first got the final-season news back in January, what landed on your list of wishes, hopes and dreams for these last episodes?
I was really hoping that the audience would feel warm and fuzzy at the end of it, that they feel like they got what they deserve for sticking with us for so long. The comparison I can make — obviously a totally different genre and network — is Friends. I was a huge fan of Friends, and since you’re so committed to these characters’ journeys, if you’re going to end it they better have a damn good future ahead of them when you write the words “The End.” My hopes and dreams were that the audience would feel that way when they watch the last episode.
And for me personally, with Kensi, you just want her to get everything she’s ever hoped and wish for — which is a family, which we see that she has achieved with Deeks (played by Eric Christian Olsen) and with Rosa (Natalia Del Riego), and that she is alive and well within the dangers of the job.
It was really nice to see how all of the characters have evolved emotionally and in terms of maturity. Take Callen (Chris O’Donnell) — could you ever imagine Callen married when you first [watched]? Like, what?! [Laughs] And Anna (Bar Paly), too — when she was introduced, she was as much of a lone wolf, and with the dad that she has. All of these characters had a wonderful journey of starting one way but then very cohesively growing up, emotionally and mentally.
TVLINE | Speaking of the Deeks-Blye family, what’s their vibe as the two-part finale opens?
The family is in a great place. [Kensi and Deeks] have started to tone down their over-concerns about Rosa’s safety. It’s funny, because if you’ve raised a child from infancy, your trust in their safety, your worry never goes away, but you’re like, “I know who they are as a person and I trust that they’ll make good decisions.” You raise the baby but they also raise you as a parent, and I know that from personal experience [as a mom of two]. My point being, by the end of it Kensi and Deeks have figured out their stride and their place as parents, and they don’t need to be as hysterical, and they do need to spend time together too. It has to be their decision to — I’m going to use a fancy word! — aliment the couple, to feed the couple, as much as possible.
TVLINE | The final case of the series involves stolen military-grade weapons and guest star Randy Couture (six-time UFC Champion, The Expendables, Hawaii Five-0). How knotty will things get?
You always want the characters to be genuinely challenged when they’re cracking a case, and they’re all so supersmart so you really have to come up with something good to challenge them and be interesting to watch. But of course, the addition of Randy Couture…. The guy’s a legend.
TVLINE | I’ve watched Part 1 of the finale and he’s so good.
He’s so good in it. I was impressed. I mean, I know that he’s done other acting before, but when you know someone from one world and they’re so good in that world, and then they come into your world and they crush it, you’re like, “Oh yeah!” It’s like that.
TVLINE | He’s exactly what his character needs to be, inscrutable.
And in reality, when we were waiting for cameras to be set up and stuff, he was just the nicest person. The nicest person.
TVLINE | So I’m watching Part 1, and Kensi and Deeks are hunkered down in some hillside brush, bantering while providing overwatch…. And it hits me, one last time, what a special thing you and Eric created with these two characters and their dynamic over the years.
Yeah. Yeah. It’s such a partnership with the writers, because they come up with things, obviously, but at some point we all know each other so well as humans — and Eric and I have our own dynamic going — that the writers start to cater the writing to our strengths, to our banter and genuine friendship. Then it just all becomes such a good synergy, because now everything is working in service of the jokes but also who we are as people and also who we are as characters. It gels together really, really well. They know that we know our characters better than anyone else, and we know that they know the tone of the show better than anyone else, so it’s about trusting each other in both directions. That’s when magic happens.
TVLINE | When the final season was announced, I polled our readers on what they most wanted to happen by the end of the season. The Top 5 were: Nell and Eric return…. No good guys die…. Callen and Anna get married (see photos)…. Kensi learns she’s pregnant…. and No. 1, Hetty returns in some fashion. How many of those five will they get?
Four. Four of those things happen.
TVLINE | How would you describe the last 10 minutes of the series finale? What will we be feeling?
Let’s just say that the last 10 minutes are going to be legitimately filled with love. Love, and friendship, and celebration. Everything I think people are hoping for.
TVLINE | And what’s next for you? Do you plan to keep directing?
Oh, I will certainly keep directing — no doubt about that. Once everything starts up again [after the WGA strike], we’ll see how that timing works out. I also optioned a book last year that I’m very passionate about that I plan on turning into a feature. That is a passion project I’m really hoping to get going.
And then of course, acting — that is always my primary thing. This directing step was parallel to my acting journey, which is important to note because the directing is so new and I’ve invested a lot of time in growing in that world.
And then there’s Portugal. That is a whole industry that I’ve been a part of since I was 16 — I always have a foot in Portugal and a foot in the U.S. — and that will continue as well. I actually have a lot of things on my plate now, some more certain than others. There’s a lot of potential here, and I’m excited.
This story originally appeared on TVLine