Brian Dietzen, who plays Jimmy Palmer, assistant to the NCIS Chief Medical Examiner on the CBS drama “NCIS,” is constantly being told by his friends that they want to play a dead body on the show. He quickly tells them it’s not as much fun as it sounds.
“You are on a cold metal table almost naked with a very hot light shining on your private area,” Palmer says during a breakfast event held by CBS during the TV critics winter tour. “And you have to hold your breath and not move at all when we are filming.”
He laughs and adds that the only thing that’s allowed to move is the artery pounding in a person’s neck. Stop that, and the show has a real mystery to solve.
Not all the dead bodies are actors. Some are the creation of the show’s special effects team. Dietzen explains that when people ask him which are real and which are fake, it’s a tribute to the team.
Getting to hang around with the dead has been the biggest break in the Colorado native’s career. After a series of small roles – including playing Eddie in “From Justin to Kelly” – Dietzen was hired to be in one episode of “NCIS.”
“They liked what I did and kept bringing me back until I became a permanent member of the cast,” Dietzen says. He not only is a member of the team, but a recent episode focused almost entirely on Palmer’s efforts to save a man trying to commit suicide.
He loves being on the show and particularly getting the chance to work with television legend David McCallum so closely. Before becoming known as Dr. Mallard, McCallum was best known for his role on the ’60s series, “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”
As for how long it took Dietzen to ask about the classic TV series, he says, “Not long at all.”
Which are you?
Ever since Archie Comics launched, debates over Betty and Veronica have been waged. Are you more of a Betty or a Veronica?
It’s not so much whether you are blond or brunette. It’s all about personalities: Betty is the kind and sweet all-American teen, while Veronica is a little more manipulating.
That’s all going to change with the new CW Network series “Riverdale.” Both Betty (Lili Reinhart) and Veronica (Camila Mendes) have a lot of hidden secrets. But, I couldn’t resist the chance to ask the two actors whether they think of themselves as a Betty or a Veronica.
Mendes, a dark-haired actress making her TV debut as Veronica Lodge, says, “We pretty much are our own character.” Reinhart, who starred in “Surviving Jack,” agrees her co-star is a Veronica.
Reinhart adds, “I mean, I feel like everyone’s a little bit of both, but definitely, like, everyone, even just today, they were, like, ‘What time did you go to bed last night,’ and I’m like, ‘11,’ and they’re, like, ‘You’re a Betty.’
“Our Betty isn’t just the sweet girl next door; there’s much more going on. And so, I feel like we’re kind of breaking the barrier of saying, like, you’re either a Betty or a Veronica, because Veronica has a sweet side. Betty’s trying not to let anyone see her dark side.”
Mendes is approaching the role with the idea that Betty and Veronica are both trying to be more like the other, and that will be the basis for their friendship. That’s a change from the comics where most of the time the characters were battling for the attention of Archie Andrews.
The pair agree that they aren’t the only actors who fit their roles in the series, but all of the cast members fit the comic characters perfectly.
Line dance: The world of Disney’s Duckburg and Mouseton is about to get more easily accessible. Starting Feb. 1, IDW Publishing’s entire slate of ongoing Disney Comics titles will become available digitally for the first time.
Disney fans can now pre-order titles at IDW Publishing.
Head start: NBC will offer audiences an early look at “Chicago Justice,” the next installment of Dick Wolf’s Chicago franchise, at 10 p.m. March 1.
The preview will follow a crossover event between “Chicago Fire” at 8 p.m. and “Chicago P.D.” at 9 p.m. that will introduce a storyline that leads into “Chicago Justice.”
The premiere of “Chicago Justice” will air in its normal 9 p.m. Sunday time slot starting March 5.