Inside Kensi & Deeks’ Wedding: ‘NCIS: Los Angeles’ Cast Teases Huge Surprises, Action and More

NCIS: Los Angeles
Monty Brinton/CBS
(Monty Brinton/CBS)

In the NCIS universe, it’s nearly impossible to get hitched without a few hitches. A prime example: the long-awaited wedding of Los Angeles special agents Kensi Blye (Daniela Ruah) and Marty Deeks (Eric Christian Olsen).

TV Guide Magazine was on set in January at the luxurious, Spanish-style Bel-Air Bay Club overlooking the Pacific for the surprisingly action-packed “Densi” nuptials. (It only took nine years for the two to get here!) We scoped out the stunning decor, saw surprises that made us drop our champagne flutes and gawked at one seriously damaged wedding dress.

“You can’t have a Kensi-Deeks wedding that goes completely smoothly from beginning to end,” a laughing Ruah says during a break from shooting, pointing to a diagonal tear in her gown that took the hemline from maxi to mini. “Kensi rips it herself so she can kick someone! I actually asked for that. I said, ‘We have to have Kensi fighting in the wedding dress.'” Olsen’s tux looks tidier but, the actor jokes, “My hair looks like a Muppet.”

Executive producer R. Scott Gemmill, who wrote the special March 17 episode, was all for a roller-coaster ride to the altar. “In our world, there’s always some sort of mayhem lurking just around the corner,” he says. Densi has weathered kidnapping, torture, a helicopter crash and even a near-breakup.

“Deeks once described Kensi as smelling like sunshine and gunpowder. [‘Two of my favorite things,’ the character explained.] It’s an apt description of the wedding,” Gemmill adds. It’s even the name of the event’s signature cocktail, which, by the way, consists of fresh orange juice, silver tequila and black pepper, shaken and served over ice with an orange slice.

NCIS: Los Angeles

What ignites the gunpowder March 17 is a case involving an old foe, arms dealer Anatoli Kirkin (Ravil Isyanov), and some thugs whose criminal hijinks interfere with the big day. Densi’s NCIS team, who all RSVP’d “Hell, yeah” to the nuptials, do their best to keep the couple blissfully unaware of the crashers. But, as evidenced by Kensi’s distressed dress, you can’t keep good agents out of a fight.

Besides, party crashing is hard to ignore when it’s so loud. While we’re chatting with Ruah and Olsen, a literal table-turning action scene is going down in the venue’s red-tiled courtyard. NCIS big boss Callen (Chris O’Donnell) and second-in-command Sam (LL Cool J) — dapper in tuxedoes and looking like a pair of James Bonds — dispatch a couple of heavies, then strut away, smoothing their lapels.

“It was fun to get my 007 on,” says LL Cool J. And they did it all without knocking a petal off a breathtaking floral display of hydrangeas, roses and lilies that has taken over an entire three-tiered fountain. (“The flowers here cost more than my actual wedding,” Olsen cracks.)

Although Callen isn’t injured in this particular scuffle, he does sport a black eye from another fight, and tech operator Eric Beale (Barrett Foa) has a swollen nose from his own mishap. Beale’s high-IQ partner (and crush), intelligence analyst Nell Jones (Renée Felice Smith), is unscathed — at least for now. Between takes, Smith slips off the towering heels that accessorize her finery and puts on her own comfy combat boots. “At least I’m ready for a fight between scenes,” she kids.

NCIS: Los Angeles

Seems like the organist may need to slow the tempo on the wedding march. But hey, what’s one more delay? Gemmill says the almost decade-long wait to seal the deal is completely in sync with the bride and groom: “Because of their individual backgrounds and the kind of dangerous work they do, they never would have rushed into this.”

And let’s not forget Densi’s bosses weren’t always pro-coupledom. “Initially, Sam felt like the relationship could blur the lines [between professional and personal priorities] and put lives in danger,” says LL Cool J, whose character’s marriage ended in tragedy when his wife died at the hands of terrorists in Season 8. “He ultimately has accepted it. They’ve proven they can think objectively in a tight spot. But anybody who’s lost [a spouse] in that tragic way, like Sam, is gonna have concerns.”

The drama’s producers had their own concerns about physically getting the duo down the aisle. Days of nonstop torrential rain in Los Angeles delayed the shoot. The clouds cleared just in time for the vows overlooking the sparkling sea. “We were so relieved. We wanted to reward our viewers for sticking with us so long. It was a very special day, and there are nice surprises for fans,” Gemmill says.

One is so huge, we’ve been sworn to secrecy. Another is the reveal of what is inside the infamous box that Kensi gave Deeks back in Season 4. She cryptically told him it contained something he’d always wanted. He put off opening it — until now. To heighten the moment, Gemmill played a practical joke on Olsen by booby-trapping the box with an additional object, so the initial surprise you see on Deeks’s face is real, not acting. “We left it in the cut,” Gemmill reveals. “And he improvised why Kensi had put it in there.”

NCIS: Los Angeles

There’s a lot of offscreen joking and laughing on the NCIS: L.A. set, starting with Ruah and Olsen, who in real life are the best of friends. She’s married to his older brother, David, and their families are close, even getting together every week at her house for a circuit-training workout.

“I introduced her to my brother because they are wonderful human beings and I want them to be happy. It worked,” Olsen says. “They have two amazing kids. And they’re great parents.” Adds Ruah: “I will go to Eric for any type of advice. Any subject. I can count on an honest opinion.”

But what the two might like most is ribbing each other, which they do pretty much constantly. It started the day they met, at a 2009 table read. “The first words I ever said to him were, ‘Hey, so I hear Deeks is supposed to be muscle-y and tan — what are you going to do about that?'” Ruah says, grinning at the memory. She turns to Olsen, “And what was your response?” Olsen replies slyly, “‘I heard Kensi was supposed to be intelligent and pretty, so what’re you doing about that?'”

The two crack up. “I had no comeback!” Ruah says. “I’m not as witty as he is. We never took offense. What’s important is that moment established what the relationship between these two characters would be, which is jab, jab. But when Kensi has no comeback, she’ll punch him in the arm.”

This is an abbreviated version of TV Guide Magazine’s latest cover story. For more from our conversation with the cast of NCIS: Los Angeles, pick up the issue, on newsstands now.

NCIS: Los Angeles, Kensi & Deeks’ Wedding, Sunday, March 17, 9/8c, CBS