‘NCIS’: How A Guest Star Landed A Major Role in ‘Top Gun: Maverick’
NCIS fans may have recognized a familiar face this summer while watching Top Gun: Maverick, the year’s highest-grossing film.
Did you notice that Hangman, the cocky pilot who co-starred with Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick, resembled a young Marine sergeant from an NCIS two-parter from a decade ago? Yes, Glen Powell was in the role of the younger brother of a Marine captain suffering from undiagnosed PTSD.
And Gibbs (Mark Harmon) developed feelings for Captain Joe Westcott (Brad Beyer) and Evan, played by Powell. Gibbs was, after all, a former Marine. He was well aware that the battlefield can wreck havoc on any soldier’s mind, particularly those serving in the Marine Corps.
The theme of Season 10 of NCIS was “honoring fallen heroes.” And “Shell Sh0ck 1 and 2,” a two-parter, did just that.
Season 10 of NCIS was all about fallen heroes.
During an interview with TV Fanatic, the late Gary Glasberg, who was then the executive producer, praised the season 10 season. This is the season that began with a car bomb outside the Naval Yard and Ducky having a heart att4ck while in Florida.
This episode “focuses on Marines who have recently returned from the Middle East, and it’s a very emotional story,” according to Glasberg. “We have some terrific actors, including Brad Beyer, who was on Jericho, another actor named Glen Powell, and a wonderful actor named Mark Rolston, who many people know from Shawshank Redemption.” But it’s a really, really nice story, and we’re filming it right now, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Here’s a CBS plot teaser for the first episode, which aired on November 13, 2012.
“When the body of a Navy Lieutenant who had just returned from the Middle East is discovered, the NCIS team questions the v1ctim’s friend, Marine Captain Joe Wescott.” Gibbs recognizes that the Captain is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, but he also recognizes that his overseas experience may be a key link to the cr1me.
Powell, a 33-year-old Texan, was already getting decent TV work when Glasberg cast him in NCIS. In The Dark Knight Rises, he played a minor role. He also appeared in TV shows such as CSI: Miami and Rizolli & Isles. He’d moved to Los Angeles a few years before, encouraged by Denzel Washington.
Powell told Entertainment Weekly, “Denzel was the guy who said, ‘Hey, I think you should really give this a shot.’” Powell appeared in the Washington film The Great Debaters.
The episode of NCIS begins with the agents looking into the d3ath of a Navy lieutenant. And it escalates into a major story about a terr0rist plotting to detonate a bomb outside Congress. We see Joe reliving a battle in the Middle East for two hours, with Evan, his brother, attempting to assist him. Joe believes he acted like a coward by fleeing rather than assisting a Marine. But it was just his mind playing tricks on him. As the insurgents att4cked, he actually saved his fellow Marine. And he wasn’t to blame for his friend’s d3ath when they returned home.
Powell landed a role on Fox’s Scream Queens in 2015. Then, in Hidden Figures, he landed the role of astronaut John Glenn. And earlier this summer, he starred as Lt. Jake ‘Hangman’ Seresin in Top Gun: Maverick. He played Iceman in the sequel (Val Kilmer).
And maybe NCIS had a small role in it all.