After a brief stint playing Special Agent Jessica Knight on two episodes of NCIS last season, Katrina Law was thrilled to learn she’d become a regular cast member when the wildly popular CBS hit show returned for its 19th year this past fall. Her family and friends were equally excited, though Law says she quickly learned they were more impressed by “how close I was able to stand next to Mark Harmon.”
Law, a Deptford native and Stockton University graduate, took a break from filming on set to talk to us about what it’s like working on such a popular show, what she missed about South Jersey and how life during the pandemic has given her added perspective.
Being the newcomer…
The most challenging aspect of joining of NCIS is trying to win over fans who have seen some of their favorite characters come and go over the past 19 years. I know firsthand how annoying and frustrated I get over seeing some of my favorite characters leave or get killed off shows I love. … So I do the best I can to honor their show and hope that they are willing to continue on this ride with a few new faces as long as we keep turning out great stories. The reward in this is seeing the fans come back week after week, which they haveit. Then, each week seeing Twitter blow up with people reacting to the new episodes and even spotting a few tweets that say they are enjoying the new characters. That’s the icing.
Staying connected to South Jersey…
Pre-pandemic, I would always try to get back to Jersey at least once a year. I still have a lot of friends and family in the area, and nothing grounds and centers you more than hanging out with people who knew you before when. They make sure to knock you down a peg if you’re getting too full of yourself in ways that only Jersey people can.
That said, whether or not I get back often, I always miss Wawa. I cannot adequately describe the glory that is Wawa to my West Coast friends, but as soon as they happen to head east and visit one, they quickly become believers themselves. I also always have to go to the mall. Nothing like a Jersey mall to remind you of your childhood … and of course, the Jersey Shore. I miss it all. Even the toll roads.
Falling in love with acting…
I fell in love with acting while playing Cassie in A Chorus Line for a summer stock theater production. That production and experience is what made me go back to Stockton and change my degree from marine biology to theater. I haven’t looked back since.
Making her way in Hollywood…
Like most in the industry, getting my career off the ground was tough, for sure. So many lessons and steep learning curves were experienced in the early days and that continues to this day. Learning how to handle rejection is a skillset that you need to learn in order to survive Hollywood. Thankfully, I am thick headed and obstinate and I just plowed through the onslaught of “nos” with my head down. I wouldn’t accept that answer. Rejection did push me to figure out what my weaknesses were as a human and an actor, and then it forced me to dig down deeper to truly figure out my craft. To this day, I am constantly in the pursuit of making myself a better actor and person. My first decade in Hollywood was spent primarily as a waitress and bartender, and through perseverance and a little luck, I was able to finally pay all of my bills from acting jobs. I hope that my lucky streak keeps rolling so that I may continue doing what I love for work.
Life during the pandemic…
The pandemic was, and still is, a rollercoaster of emotions for me. Everything from fear, sorrow and anger to great introspection, unexpected creativity and a sense of world community. I spent most of my pandemic in Jersey locked down in quarantine with my family. And when fear and insecurity ran highest, I tried to focus on the good in my life and the things I could control. I focused on the unexpected gift of time with my toddler. I wrote scripts with my husband, I learned to cook authentic Taiwanese food with my mother and watched really weird sci-fi movies with my dad. I thanked God every day that my family was safe and healthy.
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Published and copyrighted in South Jersey Magazine, Volume 18, Issue 9 (December 2021)
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