‘NCIS: New Orleans’: You Won’t Believe Which Character Is Based on a Real Person

Crime shows like NCIS: New Orleans sometimes follow stories ripped from the headlines. And while most of the content is pure fiction, the show taps into other real-life sources. It might surprise you to know which prominent character is actually based on a real person.

‘NCIS: New Orleans’ has a diverse cast

'NCIS: New Orleans'
Scott Bakula as Special Agent Dwayne Pride, Vanessa Ferlito as FBI Special Agent Tammy Gregorio, and Rob Kerkovich as Forensic Scientist Sebastian Lund | Skip Bolen/CBS via Getty Images

It may just be an aside, but it’s worth noting that NCIS: New Orleans offers real-world representation. There is a character for everyone to relate to.

Tammy Gregorio (Vanessa Ferlito) is the tough-as-nails agent who slipped in before Percy’s (Shalita Grant) departure. Coincidentally, Percy took on the same personality traits.

Loretta Wade (CCH Pounder) plays the level-headed Robin to Dwayne Pride’s (Scott Bakula) Batman (or is it the other way around?). No matter what goes wrong, Loretta’s there to solve the puzzles that ultimately save the day.

Hannah Khoury (Necar Zadegan) may be among the newer faces from the last few years, but her presence is the steadfast loyalty type the crew needs. Did we mention Zadegan is fluent in Persian, French, and German and has studied Spanish, Arabic, and Hebrew?

Sebastian Lund (Rob Kerkovich) is everybody’s favorite nerd (said with love). Almost every hit crime show has one. Sebastion’s desire to excel within the team, despite his lack of physicality and fear of most things, is something many can relate to.

Patton Plame (Daryl Mitchell) is critical in untangling each case. As the brains of the operations, his role doesn’t get the credit it deserves. Have you seen how quickly he tracks down the criminal? It’s diabolical.

Christopher LaSalle (Lucas Black), RIP (sorry, but we had to).

Which character is based on a real person?

Dwayne Swear and Scott Bakula
Real NCIS agent D’Wayne Swear and Scott Bakula | Skip Bolen/CBS via Getty Images

If Dwayne “King” Cassius Pride (played by Bakula) feels a little too real, it’s because he (sort of) is. As the NCIS Supervisory Special Agent in charge of the NOLA office and direct supervisor to his team of agents, Pride is the go-to for all things crime in the city of New Orleans.

Pride is beloved and trusted by all. There are no lengths he won’t go to if it means finding justice. This actually means he isn’t above going outside of the rules of law.

It may surprise you to know that Bakula’s Pride is based on a real-life NCIS agent, D’Wayne Swear — a retired Naval officer in the Naval Investigative Service, who served as a technical advisor on the series. Swear worked at the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office as Patrol Sergeant in the ’70s.

He eventually moved to the real NCIS: New Orleans office and retired in 2010. His time serving his community didn’t end there. Swear spent his retirement years helping police with cases before producer and showrunner for NCIS, Gary Glasberg, recruited him for the show and named a character after him, minus the apostrophe.

According to Deadline, Swear sadly died of cancer in March 2018.

“D’Wayne led with a grin, a hug and a joke,” Bakula said. “He was the heart and soul of our show. The greatest ambassador for the city of New Orleans and a shining beacon for good cops everywhere. His life was devoted to service… to his family, to NCIS, to law enforcement, to everyman…no matter his or her station in life.”

He continued saying, “He was a legend. Everywhere we went law enforcement officers sought him out to shake his hand and relive old times. I was proud to know him and humbled to portray a character based on his honorable life.”

Here’s what Swear thinks about Bakula’s portrayal

In 2016, Swear spoke to CBS News about his work with the NCIS: New Orleans series.

“I’m touched. You get a guy with that history and talent to portray you in this role … its amazing,” Swear said, “I’m shocked.”

He went explained his dedication to get the show right.

“I try to make it where it’s not stifling to their creative licensing or creative ideas,” Swearsaid, “but to try and make it as real as possible.”

The real D’Wayne will be missed, but lucky for fans, he lives on through Bakula and the NCIS: New Orleans franchise.