On Tuesday’s episode, titled “Fake It ‘Til You Make It,” NCIS pulls the curtains back on the personal life of MI6 Officer Clayton Reeves. When a close friend, Melissa Goodman (guest star Samaire Armstrong), gets abducted, he’s forced to declassify to his comrades their connection -- that they met through Alcoholics Anonymous -- in order to help save her. But, as the team gets deeper into the mystery, they soon discover that there may be more to the story than meets the eye: Their prime suspect has his hands on top-secret military intel.
Considering Reeves has been a key member on CBS’ long-running procedural for two seasons now, sometimes good things do come to those who wait. “It was a breath of fresh air,” English actor Duane Henry tells ET of getting the chance to unpack his character. “He’s always been a little bit vulnerable, but this sort of tips things all the way and exposes his inner self.” (Watch an exclusive sneak peek above, featuring Henry and co-star Emily Wickersham.)
Of Reeves’ quiet struggle with alcoholism, Henry posits that it’s a problem the British Intelligence agent has dealt with for a while. “These are demons he’s had in him long before he joined NCIS and established himself in his professional life. It’s one of those things where it sort of hit the fan,” the 32-year-old actor says with a chuckle. “Like, ‘What are we going to do here?’ It was a boiling point.”
When Reeves is forced to finally come clean about his AA meetings (his colleagues became suspicious of his excuses -- “Who goes to church on a Tuesday?”), it almost comes as a relief. As Henry explains, Reeves uses his work “as a mask” and a “filter to deal with other things in his life.”
“Not having a mom or dad at an early age, his feelings of abandonment, certain things happening in his childhood, being a big guy and having to deal with it, the pressures are finally coming out. Something like this is inevitable for a character like Clayton,” he says. “This is just the next step. Some people will relate to it. Some people won’t. It’s a mask that people are carrying most of the time for their deeper demons. Before you do anything in life, the first step is courage. Hopefully, this will start to open that up.”
With Reeves finally beginning to address his demons and his camaraderie with the team strengthened, is love on the horizon for the stylish intelligence officer?
“He loves hard,” Henry says. “He’s a good kid in certain senses, the bright-eyed, bushy-tailed naivete, vulnerable and always expecting people to do what he would do -- and not everyone’s like that. He does love hard and I don’t think he’ll change. We’re all vessels for different people -- good and bad -- so you’ve just got to find the good in any relation.”