NCIS: New Orleans Actors Sue CBS Over Bungled Heist Scene

The actors say they were 'nearly killed' when the police turned up.

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Two NCIS: New Orleans actors and the owner of a New Orleans jewelry store are suing the show’s parent company CBS over a bungled shoot which, they say, went forward without the proper permits or police authorisation, and as a result potentially risked their lives.


What happened?

The offending scene was a jewelry store heist, shot ‘guerilla-style’ with minimal crew in a crowded shopping centre. The scene involved the actors leaping out of an unmarked van wielding fake assault rifles and declaring “This is a robbery!”. On hearing this, the owner of a neighbouring store – believing it to be a real robbery – alerted the police. Shortly thereafter, heavily armed SWAT teams descended on the store and held the actors at gunpoint – and by the actors’ accounts, had they not immediately complied they might well have been killed.

The lawsuit specifically accuses CBS of failing to notify the police and neighbouring businesses that a television shoot would be taking place. Actors Justin T Lebrun and Bradford Roublow and store owner Sulemon Virani claim they were approached to take part by one of the show’s producers in October 2017, and they agreed on the assumption it was to be a “traditional television shoot” – that is to say, with all the standard safety protocols. They have described what transpired as “terrifying and traumatizing” and are now seeking damages.

The lawsuit claims that Lebrun and Roublow are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result – and that Virani’s jewelry store suffered a drop in business after “word of mouth spread that it had been the site of a brazen daylight armed robbery”.

CBS has, thus far, offered no denial of any of the events described. However, TMZ reports the network has attempted to have the case thrown out on the basis that the lawsuit was filed in a California court, rather than in Louisiana, where the events in question took place. The plaintiffs’ lawyers have offered the counter-argument that the show is produced in California. Within the world of NCIS, or indeed any police procedural, this would be the point at which a hard-bitten alcoholic detective gnashes their teeth at the thought their perp might get off on a technicality.

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