Dietzen out of the guest room
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
Brian Dietzen and Pauley Perrette in