Like the stealth criminals often hunted on the show, NCIS: LA is a bit of a silent threat in the ratings game. Now in its second season, the show is frequently on the list of top-rated shows each week, and yet, it has silently given birth to one of TV’s new, completely addictive (but not romantically attached) pairs, Marty Deeks (Eric Christian Olsen) and Kensi Blye (Daniela Ruah).
Since Olsen’s upgrade to series regular in season 2, the partners’ undeniable chemistry has attracted the attention of fans — and yours truly.The actors’ hilarious chemistry is not just for the screen.Well, I’m really excited to talk to you about Deeks and Kensi. You’ve said before that there was chemistry between you both as actors from the beginning.
Did you expect the relationship aspect of this to be as strong as it has been?
DR: I don’t think we expected the fans to want this so much. I mean, when I said we had chemistry right from the beginning, we got along as people, and we realized very early on that it would be so easy to play around with each other and to make something fun out of the relationship of these characters. I certainly didn’t predict what people would want from it or see in it.
And what about you, Eric? Did you sense a spark?
ECO: The first thing that Dani said to me when she came up to me was, “In the script it said that Deeks was supposed to be tan and muscley.”
DR: I said, “What are you gonna do about it?”
ECO: And I looked at her, raised my eyebrow, and go, “And I heard Kensi was supposed to be hot. So what are you doing about that?” That is the first thing we ever said to each other, those two lines.
DR: Before “hello.”
ECO: I think that’s kind of an indication for me that she was quick on her feet, she’s able to — if acting is just listening and reacting — that’s something she does really well.
DR: I just want to say, I’m not sure if “quick on my feet” would be the good description, considering I had been thinking about it for like, half an hour before I actually said it. [Laughs] “What can I say that’s going to throw him off?” And then he came back with a quick reply. And so yeah.
ECO: And then she froze and walked away really quickly. I was trying to give you props in [this] interview, but the fact of the matter is, yeah. She just turned bright red and walked away. She just left and went and ate like seven oatmeal raisin cookies. I was like, “Really?”
DR: I think I probably did.
ECO: You’ve got to give props to the writers and the producers of it, because they write fantastic dialogue that kind of allows us to play within it and find our relationship. If you look at any relationship onscreen as a love story, I think this one is one of those where obviously Dani’s fantastic and you find moments in these scenes that have connections between two characters. And I think the possibility of that is why it’s so exciting.
DR: And also, the writers are great at writing the banter, but they’re also so great at observing how we develop with their writing and throughout the season. Eric’s really good at improvising. So much that [dynamic] began by being an improvisation, and now they write that kind of stuff in.
What kind of improvisation are we talking about here?
DR: Eric, would you care to — [laughs]
ECO: Why does that sound so dirty all of a sudden?
DR: No, no, no, no, no! It’s not dirty as much as it is inappropriate half of the time.
ECO: That’s not true! I’m not inappropriate! You’re a liar!
DR: A lot of stuff doesn’t make the cut because it can’t.
ECO: I think there’s moments that I try to extend and push a little harder with to get certain reactions.
You two have such great exchanges on the show. When did you start noticing the romantic undertones?
ECO: What!? Romantic undertones?! I don’t even know what you’re talking about.