By Sandra Gonzalez
Updated March 19, 2013 at 07:35 PM EDT
Credit: Cliff Lipson/CBS

Tonight on NCIS: LA, viewers will be introduced to the Red Team, a mobile team of investigators who cross paths with Sam (LL Cool J) and Callen (Chris O’Donnell) while looking into a case.

But one of the biggest challenges going into this backdoor pilot was creating a set that could stand the test of time should the spin-off, working title NCIS: Red, get picked up to series, according to executive producer Shane Brennan. “It wasn’t a set we could build as a guest set,” he says. “It had to be totally credible and it had to sell the concept. It couldn’t be anything short of a working set.”

A dozen meetings and hours of labor on the part of the show’s set team later, they had two massive sets, called Laverne and Shirley, one of which was to be used in a more mobile capacity and the other to be used while filming at the show’s permanent stage. “To be honest, what they delivered was exactly what was in my head. It was kind of uncanny how quickly they got it and how accurate they were,” he says. “It’s quite remarkable piece of set design and construction.”

And we’re inclined to agree, so we asked Brennan to give us an exclusive tour of the Red Team’s humble abode, which you’ll see tonight on part one of NCIS‘s two-episode event.

Credit: Lewis Jacobs/NBC

Pictured: The main room, which acts as office and living space

Credit: Lewis Jacobs/NBC


Keeping your food next to your sketchy samples? Not ideal. But Brennan explains, “everything is multi-purpose, and that’s the fun of the show.” “These people eat sleep and work together 24/7. They get up in the morning, they see each other in their pajamas, they see each other at their worst, then they argue over who’s going to take the last slice of bed to make toast, grab their laundry and on the way to a crime scene, drop their laundry off to be done,” he says. “It’s a great opportunity to see what happens to crime [investigators] in their home life.”

Credit: Lewis Jacobs/NBC


Speaking of multi-purpose, like the main area that is used for both office and living space, the team’s interrogation room doubles as team leader Paris’ office (Kim Raver), “which means every time they have to interrogate someone she has to clean off her desk, which is a bit of fun,” says Brennan.

Credit: Lewis Jacobs/NBC

Bunk rooms

The sleeping quarters are as close as you expect and in between the two bunk rooms (one of which is pictured here) there’s the trailer’s single bathroom, resulting in “a Jack and Jill kind of arrangement,” according to Brennan.

Credit: Lewis Jacobs/NBC

The Bathroom

Being around co-workers in such an intimate setting can get frustrating to say the least, and as a result, Brennan jokes, “it’s good to have guests.” And in tonight’s spin-off, look for Paris to hit it off with at least one of the team’s “guests.” “When [Paris and Callen] meet for the first time, there’s a little big of chemistry happening, and it becomes apparent that there’s more than a little chemistry,” says Brennan. “To me, the idea of creating the opportunity for characters from two different series — who have a legitimate reason to work with each other — means we have the opportunity for these characters to move back and forth between shows.”

Catch the first part of the two-hour event tonight on CBS.

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