Emily Wickersham is getting a big promotion as her character Ellie Bishop moves to a series regular on NCIS, and the actress admits that she has her work cut out for her.
Her character takes over for the fan-favorite Ziva David, played by Cote de Pablo.
"Her work here was amazing, and I think they're big shoes to fill," Wickersham tells TVGuide.com about Cote de Pablo. "So I was totally nervous. I still am nervous about it. But I'm excited to be here and to be a part of this team, and excited to work with them all."
There is still some hesitancy among fans, and Wickersham said she understands where they're coming from.
"I totally get it," she said. "I think it's kind of a weird thing when a new person comes in, but in terms of how Ellie Bishop is, I think she just wants to do well and she's very driven, and she's excited just to be a part of the team. I hope the viewers will embrace that and appreciate that about her."
Gary Glasberg, NCIS showrunner, said Emily Wickersham is perfect to fill the void.
Emily Wickersham's Ellie Bishop is proving to perfectly complement the NCIS team… Her energy and enthusiasm is contagious. Great things are planned for Bishop and we couldn't be more thrilled to have her on board," he said.
But Emily said she has already fallen in love with her quirky character.
"I love her awkwardness, and I love how smart she is," Wickersham said about her character. "She totally lacks self-awareness, because she's so wrapped up in her own thoughts that she's kind of absent-minded. She's so used to working by herself and thinking things through in her head alone. And so socially, I think sometimes that can kind of come off in an odd way, but it's just that this is how she works."
There will be a different dynamic with Ellie Bishop, Emily Wickersham says. While Ziva and David had an ongoing romantic tension with Tony, Emily says Ellie will have a more laid back relationship.
"It's definitely a very different relationship," she says. "With Tony, it's pretty brotherly.... There are some jokes cracked between the two, just like a brother and a sister would have. There's sibling stuff happening."
There's another reason for the sibling-like relationship, TV Guide notes. Ellie Bishop is happily married, with her husband set to be introduced at some point later on.
Emily Wickersham and character Ellie Bishop debuted as series regular on Tuesday's NCIS episode, "Kill Chain." In the episode, the NCIS partnered with the Department of Defense to track a drone that brings them to the terrorist cell called Parsa.