For Scott Bakula, playing the lead in spin-off series NCIS: New Orleans is something of, yes, a quantum leap.

Because despite being in television for close to 30 years, the show is Bakula's first police procedural role.

That's not through want of trying, but more a lack of opportunity or breaks. "They've [police procedural series] come across my path a few times, but it's never panned out and I really can't tell you why," Bakula says.

He says it's only by luck that he even landed the role of Special Agent Dwayne Pride on NCIS: New Orleans. "They asked me to do a recurring role on NCIS a year ago and I was doing a bunch of things and travelling a ton and it was not a good time for me, so I said 'thanks but I can't'," he said.

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"I look back and think if I had done it, they wouldn't have offered me the role on NCIS: New Orleans because it (the recurring role) would have disqualified me in a kind of way."

In his role as Special Agent Pride, Bakula works alongside Lucas Black, who plays Special Agent Christopher LaSalle, and Zoe McLennan as Special Agent Meredith Brody.

The series follows Pride's team as they investigate criminal cases affecting military personnel in New Orleans.

Bakula said he was drawn to the series because the character was based on a real person and showcased New Orleans lifestyle and culture to the rest of the world.

"The character they came to me with was interesting ... it's based on a real-life character who has a real connection with the city and how it works."

When: Friday, 8.30pm
Where: Prime
What: Franchise opens a new southern branch

- AAP