Fading to Black: A co-star’s recent ‘NCIS: New Orleans’ exit

TV Pipeline

Q: Why did “NCIS: New Orleans” kill off the character Lasalle? – Gary Rhodes, via e-mail

A: We’ve expectedly gotten plenty of queries about the CBS drama’s huge move that obviously caught fans by surprise. While a definitive reason for founding cast member Lucas Black’s departure hasn’t been given, there are some clues.

The actor had indicated in an interview that there were “priorities” that he had sacrificed to work on the show on location over the five-plus years of his run on it, and he said he wanted to get back to those. (He and his attorney wife have three children.) Also, he apparently is returning to the “Fast & Furious” movie franchise, and it’s more than likely that the schedules for that and “NCIS: New Orleans” would have collided. Thus, a choice would have to be made, and the death of Lasalle suggests that Black may have made it in favor of doing the film.

Q: I know “Arrow” is in its final season, but how much longer will it be on the air? – Mike Harris, Providence, R.I.

A: Not much longer. The show’s value to The CW is evident in that the crossover events that unite the network’s DC Comics-related series – such as the new “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” which begins on “Supergirl” Dec. 8 – often are referred to as “Arrowverse” projects.

The second phase of “Crisis” will begin on “Arrow” Jan. 14, then the series will have only two weeks left, wrapping up on Jan. 28. “Arrow” production already has wrapped up, with title star Stephen Amell among those who have tweeted emotional messages about saying goodbye to the cast and crew after eight seasons.

Q: What was the song that was heard in the closing scene of “The Affair”? – Erin Delaney, via e-mail

A: It was a cover version of “The Whole of the Moon” that was recorded specially for the Showtime series’ finale by Fiona Apple, who also wrote and performed the show’s theme song (“Container”). Originally done (in a version also heard in that “Affair” episode) by The Waterboys in the mid-1980s, “The Whole of the Moon” also has been covered by many other artists including Prince, The Killers and Mandy Moore.

Q: Will there be another season of “Veronica Mars”? – Tom Draper, Rutherford, N.J.

A: As of this writing, a fifth round isn’t immediately on the horizon, but series creator and executive producer Rob Thomas thinks it could happen somewhere down the line. He has reasoned that since his work on “iZombie” is over, and title star Kristen Bell has finished production on NBC’s “The Good Place,” it might be easier to find a window of time that would accommodate everyone’s availability.

Despite having no order for a fifth season there, Thomas referenced his “very positive” dealings with Hulu, which presented the fourth “Veronica” season and also has streamed the original three. And co-star Enrico Colantoni – alias Veronica’s father Keith – reflected to us in an interview that “it’s never really over” for the show, also borne out by the movie version that was funded through a Kickstarter campaign. So, time will tell.

Q: Please help settle a bet. Did Warren Beatty ever do a TV series? – Jean Hayes, Deland, Fla.

A: Though he’s principally known for his movie work, the Oscar winner (for directing the 1981 epic “Reds”) started his career on the home screen, encompassing a first-season stint on “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis” as Milton Armitage, a wealthy and annoying nemesis of Dwayne Hickman’s title character. Beatty appeared in only a relative handful of episodes, since his film and stage careers were poised to take off at that point.

During the 1950s, Beatty (the brother of the also-famous Shirley MacLaine) also acted on such celebrated anthology series as “Studio One” and “Playhouse 90,” but his fortunes rested elsewhere as the 1960s began. He earned a Tony Award nomination for his one Broadway role, in “A Loss of Roses” by William Inge – whose writing also fueled Beatty’s movie debut in the highly regarded 1961 drama “Splendor in the Grass.” After that, filmmaking had Beatty’s near-complete professional attention, whichever side of the camera he was working on (or, often, both sides simultaneously).

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Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

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