D’Wayne Swear, a retired Naval investigator who inspired Scott Bakula’s NCIS: New Orleans character Dwayne Pride, died March 5 at his home in Gulfport, Mississippi after a battle with cancer. He was 60.
Swear, who served as a technical advisor on the series, will be honored with an In Memoriam card during the episode on Tuesday, March 13.
“D’Wayne led with a grin, a hug and a joke,” said Bakula. “He was the heart and soul of our show. The greatest ambassador for the city of New Orleans and a shining beacon for good cops everywhere. His life was devoted to service… to his family, to NCIS, to law enforcement, to everyman…no matter his or her station in life.
“He was a legend. Everywhere we went law enforcement officers sought him out to shake his hand and relive old times. I was proud to know him and humbled to portray a character based on his honorable life.”
A New Orleans native, Swear began a career in law enforcement at the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office in 1977 as Patrol Sergeant and a helicopter pilot. He signed on with what was then called the Naval Investigative Service (now Naval Criminal Investigative Service) in 1985, serving several stints in the New Orleans NCIS office, along with posts in the Philippines and other federal agency jobs.
He retired from NCIS in 2010, moved to Gulfport, and married his wife Susan. He assisted the Gulfport Police Department and Hancock County Sheriff’s Office in the early stage of retirement, and a few years later was contacted by CBS producer and showrunner Gary Glasberg, leading to his appointment as Technical Advisor to NCIS New Orleans.
Swear called the opportunity “the best retirement job ever.” According to CBS, Glasberg was so appreciative of Swear’s input that he gave Bakula’s character his first name, minus the apostrophe.
He is survived by his wife, Susan Swear, a son, two daughters and other family.