Is Stacy Keach leaving NCIS: New Orleans; is Cassius Pride dead?

NCIS: New Orleans season 4 premiereIs Stacy Keach leaving NCIS: New Orleans, and is the character of Cassius Pride dead? That’s a question that you certainly should be wondering following the events of tonight’s fall finale…

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Granted, based on the way in which this episode (entitled “Tick Tock”) ended, you probably know the answer to that already. It’s really hard to imagine that Cassius makes his way out of this situation alive after he was shot multiple times by Amelia. Pride immediately shot and killed her presumably, but at that point, it was far too late. It seems as though Cassius is gone, judging from how he grabbed the angel of death’s hand and was ushered off into whatever the show’s version of the afterlife is.

In the grand scheme of things, the interesting thing is that Keach did not actually appear on that many episodes of NCIS: New Orleans — it’s hard for him to “leave” a show in the first place when he was never a series regular. Yet, this is a case of a character being so much more integral than the initial episode count would suggest here. Cassius Pride was an extremely important part of this world and someone who influenced who his son Dwayne really was. Dwayne was the opposite of him in some ways and while Cassius was no saint, he did love his son. That’s one of the reasons why he went back in for him, knowing full well that he could die in the process. He also made sure that Loretta Wade got out of the compound before anything could happen to her.

Moving out of tonight’s episode, it does absolutely feel as though Pride’s story with the mysterious group behind the kidnapping is far from over. They seem to have orchestrated most of the chaos tonight and we certainly have a hard time thinking that it’s over now. Moving forward, we could see a version of Pride out for vengeance — this is not a guy who has a whole lot of family out there beyond his daughter Laurel and then also his new-found brother Jimmy. Family matters a lot to this man, and he’s going to miss Cassius on some level even if the two were not the ideal father/son duo.

In the end, this death will open up a number of interesting story possibilities — yet, it doesn’t still take away from the fact that this is a very-sad departure in the midst of a really difficult year for Pride.

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