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Scott Bakula’s portrayal of Dwayne Pride has helped launch NCIS: New Orleans into new territory. On the heels of its successful “mothership,” series, NCIS, the southern version has its own tone and setting. Even with the rise of the New Orleans iteration, there’s still one thing Bakula struggles with (and you probably won’t guess what it is).

Scott Bakula is a midwesterner transplanted into the New Orleans culture

'NCIS: New Orleans'
Behind the scenes with Lenny Platt as Detective David Cabrera, Shanley Caswell as Laurel Pride, and Scott Bakula as Special Agent Dwayne Pride | John Paul Filo/CBS via Getty Images

Though many remember Scott Bakula from his Quantum Leap or Star Trek: Enterprise days, it’s NCIS: New Orleans that’s given him longevity in the industry.

The actor commutes from New Orleans every weekend to Los Angeles where his family stayed behind. However, Bakula’s roots are neither southern or western.

Born and bred in St. Louis Missouri, the NCIS actor grew up in the small suburb of Kirkwood where his musical family set the tone for Bakula’s love of performing.

Though Bakula’s father and brother went the law route, his journey put him on the path of entertainment. After graduation, the star intended to study law, but ultimately changed majors and ended up in theater.

It paid off. The Tony-nominated actor (for Romance/Romance) led to Bakula’s desire to give TV and film a try. After a number of smaller roles and sporadic recurring roles, Quantum Leap came along in 1989 and changed the trajectory of Bakula’s life forever.

What does Bakula still struggle with on set?

Between the end of Quantum Leap and the start of NCIS: New Orleans, 21 years passed. Bakula continued acting while adding directing, producing, writing, and soundtrack contribution to his resume.

When the opportunity for NCIS: New Orleans came along, executive producer and star of NCIS, Mark Harmon, already had Bakula in mind.

“I’ve known Scott for years, and he’s worked with my wife, and we’ve known the same people and run into each other a bunch of times,” Harmon said in an interview with TCA. “I think getting an opportunity to play a role like this, and certainly coming off of a successful show like NCIS is a fairly rare opportunity.”

However, before Bakula sank his teeth into the role of Dwayne Cassius “King” Pride, there was still one minor detail to figure out: how to speak.

The backdoor pilot episode, which involved the crossover of NCIS to introduce the New Orleans series, came with a lot of criticism over Bakula’s NOLA accent.

“They wrote this character who is born and bred in New Orleans, but they didn’t want the full-on accent,” Bakula said in the same interview. “We’re still working on how I’ll sound.”

Fans still drag Bakula for his attempt

He added that the accent remained in flux. Six seasons later, it’s clear Bakula spent a lot of time molding Pride’s accent. However, it does come and go, as some fans still notice.

“Scott Bakula has a horrible fake accent,” one fan tweeted. “It wasn’t just me thinking that way about the accent. I feel better now,” another replied.

Others have made a joke out of it.

“*accidentally lands on an episode of NCIS: New Orleans* Is… is Scott Bakula doing an accent?” another fan said. “Watching Scott Bakula on #NCIS New Orleans is funny as hell cause one minute he has a New Orleans accent and then he talks straight-up normal for several minutes without one,” another viewer added.

A lot of these tweets are recent proving Bakula still has some work to do. No pressure.

Bakula is surprised by this one thing

Accent aside, Bakula admitted he’s still shocked and “astonished” by the success of the franchise as a whole, especially because there’s no sign any of the three shows are about to end.

“But they [the original NCIS show] are the Energizer bunny and they just keep going and going. They’ve been renewed again for two more years, which will be their 14th and 15th seasons,” Bakula previously said.

“I can’t imagine that. But I applaud them. I don’t understand it!”

The only franchise to last almost as long is CSI, which ironically cast a few NCIS actors (such as Vanessa Ferlito). A lot of it likely has to do with the crossover potential. Still, Bakula doesn’t understand how his series, or the two others in the franchise, are still going.

“By all rights, people should be tired of procedurals and they should be tired of that show. But they have got some magic model and they just keep going – and it’s astounding.”

He can thank the fans for that. Whether Bakula’s accent is spot on or not, people still tune in to watch Pride in action as he and his team take on the world. Again, no pressure.

NCIS: New Orleans returns to CBS on Sunday, February 16.