Vanessa Lachey has gone from Hawaii Five-0 guest star to NCIS heroine! CBS has released the NCIS: Hawaii trailer, which features Lachey as Special Agent Jane Tennant, head of a new group of agents in the latest spinoff of the hit crime drama.
Tennant is both head of the NCIS Pearl Harbor office and a single mother. Her team is composed of Kai Holman (played by Alex Tarrant), Jesse Boone (Noah Mills, The Enemy Within), Lucy Tara (Yasmine Al-Bustami, who’ll be familiar to CBS viewers from SWAT), Kate Whistler (Tori Anderson, Blindspot) and tech expert Ernie Malik (Jason Antoon).
In the debut episode Tennant and her team step in when an experimental Navy aircraft slams into Oahu; fans can see some of the crash site in the trailer. The NCIS Pearl Harbor squad have to not only figure out why that plane went down, but protect the “classified state secrets” of the program.
This series is the first NCIS show to feature a female holding the rank of Special Agent in Charge. In NCIS: Los Angeles, Hetty Lange (Linda Hunt) is the top-ranking officer, but credited as Operations Manager; the SAC title is held by Grisha Callen (Chris O’Donnell). The failed spinoff NCIS: Red featured Kim Raver (Grey’s Anatomy) as SAC, but CBS passed on the project.
It’s also the first part of the franchise not to get a backdoor pilot—when audiences meet the NCIS: Hawaii team in the premiere, that’ll be the first time viewers have met any of them. Those two things will make the pilot very interesting to check out. Will viewers warm up to Lachey as a tough NCIS leader after her previous lead roles have been in sitcoms? And will not having that backdoor pilot hurt or even potentially help launch the next part of the franchise?
Crime dramas in particular have relied heavily on the backdoor pilot system, in which characters of a spinoff are introduced and/or featured in an episode of the parent series to drum up interest and offer the viewers a sort of preview. It’s almost become expected, so if NCIS: Hawaii can buck that trend, it’ll be fun to see if networks take notice. And while Lachey isn’t who many viewers thought would land this massive role, that could also mean she brings something completely new and entertaining to it; some of the best casting choices on TV have been actors who didn’t seem like good fits on paper.
NCIS: Hawaii is the fourth television series in the NCIS franchise, joining the lineup after the cancellation of NCIS: New Orleans. It will form a two-hour block on Monday nights with the original series, which airs at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Brittany Frederick has worked 20 years as a professional journalist, reaching millions of readers worldwide with thousands of articles. Her one goal is to meet Jonathan Groff, but she’s sung with Adam Levine and gone 200 MPH with Mario Andretti. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @tvbrittanyf.