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How Some Bold Moves Helped NCIS’s Brian Dietzen Make Jimmy Palmer A Full-Time Role

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While you should play it safe during interviews and auditions, sometimes courage is called for. In the case of Brian Dietzen, for example, bold moves can unexpectedly turn a brief gig into a full-time career. As Dietzen revealed in a 2014 interview with Paul Semel, the actor decided to take a chance when he learned his audition for NCIS was only for a one-day role. “…But what’s funny is that I made my decision because it was just a one-day job, making some really brave decisions at the audition,” Dietzen said in the interview. “And they liked it so much that it turned into a ten-year job.”

Dietzen never explains what some of those bold decisions entailed, but whatever he risked for the audition, it worked. Dietzen’s development from guest star to series star was gradual after his Season 1 debut. Fans soon couldn’t get enough of the working relationship between Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard (David McCallum) and Jimmy Palmer. Per NCIS Fandom, by 2012, the actor eventually appeared in the opening credits of “NCIS,” cementing his place as the show’s mainstay.

If the audition was originally for a starring role on “NCIS,” Dietzen would have done things differently in his interview with Semel and likely lost. “…Had it been for a lead role, I would have had to test for the network, and if I had I probably would have made different choices,” he told Semel. “And I probably wouldn’t have gotten the job.”



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