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NCISLA Classified Preview: “High Value Target” (S8E01)/”Belly of the Beast” (S8E02)


Title:   “High Value Target”/”Belly of the Beast”

Airing:   Sunday, September 25th – a two-hour premiere

Filming:  “High Value Target” was filmed from July 29th to August 9th.  “Belly of the Beast” was filmed from July 19th to July 28th.  Yes, they were shot in reverse order.

Daniela Ruah started her maternity leave when these episodes were finished.

As with her season five maternity leave, scenes were shot in advance to ensure Kensi would be a part of every episode.  These scenes were shot from July 8th to July 18th – a longer filming schedule than the time took to shoot some of the Kensi in Afghanistan scenes.

 What CBS is telling us:   After NCIS fails to locate a mole in the department, Under Secretary of Defense Corbin Duggan (Jackson Hurst) insists on new leadership and takes over the Los Angeles unit from Hetty and Granger. Also, the team travels to Syria to apprehend a High Value Target where one team member is severely injured when the mission goes awry, on the special two-hour eighth season premiere of NCIS: LOS ANGELES

 What we think is happening:  Well, with Daniela Ruah needing maternity leave time, that’s probably a hint about who the severely injured team member may be.  The program is also addressing the mole.

Be on the lookout: GUEST CAST:

“High Value Target” guest cast:

Jackson Hurst as Under Secretary of Defense Corbin Duggan        

Grayson Kent in Drop Dead Diva.  Appeared in a number of TV dramas – The Closer, Scandal, Unforgettable, Castle and Grey’s Anatomy as well as the mothership’s “Dead Air” episode in season eight.  According to his social media accounts, this is a three-episode role.

Alexander Wraith as Bassel Rizvi     

Agent Anderson on Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, Vasily on Orange is the New Black  and some feature films and television dramas.  Played Lt. Gorman in NCIS’s “Anonymous Was a Woman” season 11 episode.

Alexander Wraith is this season’s first “guest cast photo with LL Cool J” actor.

Cherami Leigh as Hope         

Most credits are as a voice actor for animated/anime series.

Harry Katzman as Moshe     

Handful of guest role credits in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Animal Kingdom and a season two Lucifer episode.

Bryce McBratnie as Intern

Guest roles on Ray Donovan, The Middle, Switched at Birth, Ground Floor and New Girl.

AJ Meijer as Elias Keating     

Appeared in a number of short films and an episode of Hannah Montana.

Lisa Maley as Chen

Guest credits include Bones and Rizzoli & Isles.

Ben Cain as Homeland Security Captain Kane

Cain had guest roles in a number of crime dramas including NCIS’s season 12 “The Artful Dodger” episode.

Nadia Sloane as Pool Honey

Haley on Days of Our Lives and guest roles on Rosewood, 2 Broke Girls, Anger Management, Pretty Little Liars and the “Thirst” episode of NCIS in season nine.

Sammy Sheik as Ahmed Han Asakeem

Hanny on United States of Tara with guest roles in series like The Night Shift, General Hospital, Scandal, The Blacklist, Hawaii Five-0, Chicago Fire, Burn Notice, Tyrant, Legends and Days of Our Lives. 

Hour two

“Belly of the Beast” guest cast:

Jackson Hurst as Under Secretary of Defense Corbin Duggan
Sammy Sheik as Ahmed Han Asakeem
Lisa Maley as Chen

All back from the first hour of the two-hour premiere.

Gretchen Palmer as Heather

Appeared in a number of feature film and guest roles on crime dramas.

Grinnell Morris as Navy Doctor Smith         

Appeared in a number of dramas, often as doctors, lawyers or college rofessors.

Monib Abhat as Insurgent     

Was one of the prison guards in the Criminal Minds season finale last May.

Stephen Hailo as Masked Gunman

Appeared in a few TV movies and short films.


WRITTEN BY:  Both episodes were written by R. Scott Gemmill who wrote or co-wrote  “The Only Easy Day”, “Brimstone”, “Breach”, “LD50”, “Found”, “Borderline”, “Absolution”, “Archangel”, “Tin Soldiers”, “Impostors”, “Cyberthreat”, “Honor”, “The Watchers” and both sides of the NCIS Los: Angeles/Hawaii Five-0 “Touch of Death” episodes, “Recruit”, “Free Ride”, “Wanted”, “Ravens and The Swans”, “Impact”, “War Cries”, both ends of the “Deep Trouble” season five finale/season six premiere, “Inelegant Heart”, “Praesidium”, “Traitor”, “Active Measures”, “Blame It On Rio”, “Internal Affairs”, “Matryoshka” part one and “Talion”.  This is the third consecutive season premiere Gemmill wrote.

DIRECTED BY:  “High Value Target” was directed by Tawnia McKiernan, who directed “Exchange Rate” in season seven.

McKiernan’s father was legendary television producer Stephen J. Cannell.  Kousakis’s early career included working on several Cannell series.

“Belly of the Beast” was directed by Terrance O’Hara, who directed “The Only Easy Day”, “Brimstone”, “The Bank Job”, “Borderline”, “Tin Soldiers”, “The Job”, “Backstopped”, “Crimeleon”, “Blye, K.” Part Two, “San Voir” Part Two, “End Game”, “Paper Soldiers”, “Descent”, “Ascension”, “Fish Out of Water”, “Blaze of Glory”, “Command and Control” (episode 150) and “Matryoshka” Part Two.


Insider Intel:   Entertainment Tonight visited the cast just before Daniela Ruah left: also published a season premiere/preview.


Official Photographic Evidence:  Seat42F 


Unofficial Surveillance:  With the show on the move, I’ve noticed the social media accounts of both the stars, behind the scenes brain trust and the guest cast have been on fire!

“High Value Target”:

Beautiful sunny day in LA for the program:

Not such a beautiful view:

But a cool car:

Director and producer:

Guest cast member enjoys the set:

Eric Christian Olsen made a friend.

So did LL Cool J:

Miguel Ferrer likes the start to the season:

Belly of the Beast:

Helicopter before:

Helicopter after:

From the set:

And a familiar face or two in the crowd:

Hot times in the desert:

But one person looked cool:

Have a bad feeling about those witch feet.

And one sent a glam shot:

Video Surveillance:



Sneak Peek:

The mole storyline is sneak peek #1


Field trip to Syria is sneak peek #2:


Not a good trip home is sneak peek #3:


And Eric Christen Olsen provide a sneak peek #4:


Sunday’s episode is expected to be delayed in the Eastern and Central Time Zones in the US.  CBS will tweet out the exact time and I’ll be posting it in the comments (and I plan on doing this every week when there is a CBS sports related delay).  There will be no delay on the West Coast.

Happy start to season eight.


Tess DiCorsi is a wikiDeeks contributor. You can read more by Tess HERE.

8 Comments on NCISLA Classified Preview: “High Value Target” (S8E01)/”Belly of the Beast” (S8E02)

  1. I wish there was a “Loved” button to let you know how great this was. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This was awesome, thank you so much for putting this together for us. It is so wonderful to have everything tied together this way. Also thanks in advance for keeping us informed of the start time.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. NCIS LA is back and so are your reviews! You don’t know how much I missed them during the hiatus that this year did seem neverending…
    I guess this Season premiere will be memorable from many points of view. As for me, if this show is still able after all these years to masterfully mix action and drama, romance and banter, explosions and heartbreaking moments, I’m definitely on board!


  4. Two additions – CBS ate the original promo so let’s use this:

    And a very cool set photo:


  5. Like

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