This Monday night, CBS’ NCIS franchise whisked us away to Hawaii, where Vanessa Lachey’s Jane Tennant is the Special Agent in Charge. Will you return to NCIS: Hawai’i after you’ve had a chance to watch it?Hawai’i, which airs Monday nights at 10/9c (following the relocated OG NCIS), stars Lachey as Jane Tennant, a single mom who is pulled away from coaching her daughter’s soccer team in the premiere to investigate the crash of a manned, top secret aircraft. When she arrives at the crash site by helicopter, she runs into Navy Capt. Joe Milius, played by Enver Gjokaj (Dollhouse).
Tennant’s team includes Lucy Tara (Yasmine Al-Bustami), an eager, junior member; Kai (Alex Tarrant), a local who, after spending most of his adult life running away from his home, has returned to Hawai’i as an NCIS agent (and to grumble a lot about his father); and Jesse (Noah Mills), a former big city homicide detective who has settled into a new life in Hawai’i.
Tori Anderson also plays Kate Whistler, a Defense Intelligence Agency agent who is eager to advance in her career and thus has little patience for some of the NCIS agents’ tactics. And speaking of which…. We witnessed an apparently deep-seated professional friction between Special Agent Tara and DIA Agent Whistler while meeting Tennant’s team, only to later see the two fall into a heated clench when Lucy showed up at Kate’s house that night.
Though they are no longer a couple, it has been established that the women had a romantic relationship in the past, implying that, unlike any previous NCIS series, NCIS: Hawai’i features an LGBTQ Special Agent from the start. (Tammy Gregorio did not appear in NCIS: New Orleans until Season 3.)Jan Nash, executive producer of NCIS: Hawai’i and previously on Rizzoli & Isles and NCIS: New Orleans (beginning with Season 6), tells TVLine that making a team member LGBTQ was not done to claim any franchise first.
“Our desire was to create a show that had a really diverse — and we meant that in every way — palette of characters,” he says. And having these two characters was an important part of that.” The character of Lucy was LGBTQ “from the start” of NCIS: Hawai’i, according to Nash, though the idea of her relationship with Kate came later. “We want these characters to have full lives — they have families, they have interests, they struggle with things — and relationships are certainly a part of that,” Nash says.
“But on a procedural show, when you’re working on a case, it’s difficult to say, ‘But I have a date tonight!’ So having Whistler in our world, in an NCIS-like role, seemed like a way to add relational qualities to our show while not interfering with our procedural storytelling.”While labels (e.g., lesbian, bi) have not yet been assigned to either character, Nash claims that “it is not a situation in which either of them is a straight woman who was suddenly, magically attracted to somebody else.”
That is not the case.”When asked about the couple’s noticeable height disparity, Nash explained that when casting via Zoom, “everyone’s the size of their head and shoulders in a box, so we had no idea!” [Yasmine and Tori] were cast in these roles because they were the actors who really sold the parts in their auditions, and then they showed up and we were like, ‘Oh my!'”
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