‘NCIS’: Jessica Steen Tells Us What It Was Like to Work With Michael Weatherly

NCIS has had many memorable characters. Devoted fans will always remember Agent Paula Cassidy and her flirty scenes with Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly).

Showbiz Cheat Sheet caught up with Jessica Steen, the actor who played Paula Cassidy. She told us what it was like to work with Weatherly. She also shared some of her thoughts about her character.

Agent Paula Cassidy and Tony DiNozzo

Michael Weatherly | Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images
Michael Weatherly | Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Steen played Paula Cassidy for about five years. She says she had a lot of fun on the set with Weatherly. If you’ve seen any interviews with Weatherly, you won’t find it hard to believe that being on set with him was a blast. He has built a reputation for being the life of the party wherever he goes.

“The second round, when DiNozzo and I had this sort of playful fun, was really fun,” Steen told Showbiz Cheat Sheet. “Michael Weatherly is very funny and very familiar to me. He kind of reminds me of a guy who plays my brother on Home Front, a dear friend of mine. So that was really fun.”

Jessica Steen’s favorite part about working with Michael Weatherly

Jessica Steen | Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images
Jessica Steen | Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Steen enjoyed her time on the NCIS set. She says the best part of working with Weatherly was acting out the playful, flirty scenes.

“My favorite part was being playful and flirting with Michael Weatherly’s character,” says Steen. “I think we did that well. I guess overall I wish I had more of that kind of thing in my career.”

Could Tony and Paula have been like Tony and Ziva?

Could we have seen a different outcome if Paula wasn’t killed off in season four? We asked Steen if she thought Tony and Paula could have been like Tony and Ziva. She says she does think they had that potential if their characters were allowed to progress.

“I absolutely think we could have evolved into whatever was meant to happen, whatever they wrote,” says Steen. “I think we definitely could have made really good things happen. I don’t know why [the character was killed off]. Obviously, she was extremely popular and did a great job. The fans loved her, and it went the way it did. I’ll never know.”

Jessica Steen on the longevity of ‘NCIS’ and the stamina of the cast

Steen marvels at how long NCIS has been on the air and how hard the cast works. Unfortunately, those long hours are what have led some former NCIS stars to leave the show. One example is Sasha Alexander (Agent Kate Todd), who left after two seasons.  

Alexander told TV Guide she doesn’t regret her decision to leave NCIS. “People don’t realize that on a network show, you make 24 episodes a year — that’s 10½ months a year, 17 hours a day. It’s hardcore,” she said.

“It’s such an amazing break to have a show that goes that long; not many shows do,” says Steen. “Anybody involved in that kind of longevity must be very grateful. That said, it’s a slog. Those guys don’t have much of a life. They go from the top of the day to the bottom of the day.”

Steen says days are long, and it takes a lot of commitment to produce a show like NCIS. “They have ‘Fraturdays.’ As the week goes on, the days start later, and you don’t finish until, oftentimes, Saturday morning. They shoot quite far out in Los Angeles. So, then you have to either move or do a lot of commuting. It’s a serious life. I’m amazed Michael went right on to Bull. That just blows my mind. I know definitely that life is all-encompassing.”

Stay tuned for more from our chat with Jessica Steen.

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