Di­et­zen out of the guest room

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - FREE TV -

BNCIS: Tues­days, 8.30pm, Ten and Ten SC. RIAN Di­et­zen says it was like get­ting a call up from a mi­nor league base­ball team when, af­ter nine sea­sons, he was of­fered a spot on the NCIS start­ing ros­ter.

Un­til then, the Hol­ly­wood ac­tor had been work­ing on a week-to-week ba­sis in a guest role for the Net­work Ten crime se­ries. But be­ing a per­ma­nent ca­sual on a high-rat­ing US se­ries did have its ad­van­tages.

It af­forded Di­et­zen time to write, pro­duce and star in the in­de­pen­dent movie Con­grat­u­la­tions, which will screen at more than a dozen film fes­ti­vals across the US this year.

But deep down all the 35-year-old wanted was for his char­ac­ter Jimmy Palmer to grad­u­ate from guest role to se­ries reg­u­lar on the crime show. That fi­nally hap­pened be­fore the start of the 10th sea­son.

‘‘They had me on as a guest star, pay­ing me weekly . . . but there was no con­tract,’’ Di­et­zen says over the phone from Los An­ge­les.

‘‘It’s been like they’ve called a kid up from the mi­nor leagues to play and it’s worked out.’’

Over the years, Di­et­zen had his doubts that he would ever be of­fered a full-time con­tract as time ap­peared against him. Few crime se­ries have lasted long as NCIS, and Di­et­zen says it’s pos­si­bly the only show that has ever had its best US rat­ings in its 10th sea­son.

‘‘Gen­er­ally the tra­jec­tory of a show, even if it is a hit show, is to peak in its sec­ond or third sea­son,’’ he says.

‘‘Once in a while there is that show which sticks around and gets bet­ter and some­one re­cently told me, never has a show been No.1 in its 10th sea­son.’’

Di­et­zen jokes the rat­ings suc­cess means his char­ac­ter won’t ever have to ‘‘get on a bike and jump a shark’’.

‘‘The writ­ers and the ac­tors don’t feel we are scroung­ing for sto­ry­lines which is great,’’ he says.

– DAR­REN CARTWRIGHT

NCIS.

Brian Di­et­zen and Pauley Per­rette in

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