Spunky Sonja is back.
Shalita Grant, appearing in a recurring role on the first season of “NCIS: New Orleans” as fearless ex-ATF undercover agent Sonja Percy, returns this season as a permanent character and a full-fledged NCIS agent.
But Sonja is used to working solo. Now she’ll have to adjust to being part of Dwayne Pride’s team.
“Sonya Percy is a badass, that’s it,” Grant said from her newest home-away-from-home, New Orleans. “You know, she is THAT chick, OK? She is undercover, and she is so dedicated to her job, so serious that she hacked into a computer trying to get a new job. She thought it was a good idea. I don’t personally, but it worked out for her because it’s TV.”
Grant joins regulars Scott Bakula, special agent Pride; Lucas Black, special agent Christopher LaSalle; Zoe McLellan, special agent Meredith Brody, CCH Pounder, Dr. Loretta Wade; Rob Kerkovich, forensic scientist Sebastian Lund; and Daryl Chill Mitchell, Patton Plame, who’s also been bumped up to series regular.
“It’s a really great show. People love this show. People love the ‘NCIS’ franchise, which is, like, really clear on my social media,” Grant said. “I mean, like, everyday, somebody’s, ‘Oh my God, I can’t wait for season 2. And when I tweet out pictures of our locations, or just things that we’re doing during the day, people are so grateful and so happy, you know, that they get to see bits and pieces of what’s happening next season. It’s really exciting to be a part of it.”
As it did during its 23-episode freshman run, the show will continue to spotlight the landscape, culture and particularly the music of the Big Easy.
Grammy Award-winning and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Dr. John guest-stars as himself and performs on Tuesday night’s season premiere.
The episode opens with a military convoy being bombed on a New Orleans bridge. Pride and the team map out a dangerous undercover operation to retrieve a stolen missile and prevent an attack on a U.S. Naval ship.
“Our show is the grittiest of the three, and I think that is a residue of how much of the city is in the show,” Grant said. “Truthfully, New Orleans itself is another character because you can’t get New Orleans anywhere else but New Orleans.”
Critics, however, panned early episodes for spreading on the N’awlins element too thick, with its incessant talk of boudin and beignets. Once the setting and flavor of the south Louisiana-shot series was established, show runners scaled back the Louisiana-isms.
“I think it’s actually a credit to the series itself, and to the writers, and to the showrunner, Jeff Lieber, that they figured it out relatively quickly and haven’t been cancelled. If anything, it’s (drawn) more viewers.
“People are really excited about this leg of the ‘NCIS’ franchise,” Grant said.