The NCIS franchise may be about to mark a first in its decades-long history. The reported Hawaii-set spinoff, aptly titled NCIS: Hawaii and not yet officially picked up by CBS for a series order, is reportedly set to feature a woman in the starring role, something that would mark a first for the franchise.
According to sources who spoke to TVLine, the potential spinoff, which would be the fourth series in the NCIS franchise, will have a lead character tentatively named "Jane Tennant." Along with breaking ground on-screen as the first Special Agent in Charge of "NCIS Pearl," the character will also make history in the franchise as the first female lead, as all other iterations have only had male leads. Mark Harmon has notable portrayed Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs, the lead of NCIS, since even before NCIS' debut, NCIS: Los Angeles is led by Chris ODonnell and LL Cool J, and Scott Bakula leads NCIS: New Orleans. The decision to go with a female lead will come after NCIS: Red, which was in the works in 2013 but ultimately never given a series order, was set to be co-led by Kim Raver and John Corbett. CBS declined to on the report. Casting for the characters, including "Jane Tennant," is reportedly already underway.
The development comes after The Hollywood Reporter first reported in February that NCIS: Hawaii was in the works. At the time, the outlet reported CBS was "nearing a straight-to-series order" for the series, which, according to sources, would likely shoot in Hawaii. The outlet said the series was in the process of meeting with potential pilot directors and had begun staffing a writers room. To be the fourth series in the NCIS franchise if it is picked up, NCIS: Hawaii will reportedly be executive produced by Jan Nash (NCIS: New Orleans) and Matt Bosack (CBS' SEAL Team), with Chris Silber, the showrunner on NCIS: New Orleans, attached as showrunner.
The potential new spinoff would come at a time when the flagship series' fate is possibly at stake. Airing since 2003, reports have suggested that NCIS lead Harmon has considered leaving the series, which would mean the series "could be nearing its end," according to a separate THR report. According to the outlet, Harmon's contract is up at the end of Season 18, which is currently airing, and the actor had initially been considering leaving NCIS for good. Harmon is said to have reconsidered, however, after learning that doing so would be the end of the flagship crime procedural. The actor reportedly entered talks to appear for a handful of episodes if the show returns for Season 19.
NCIS got its start back in 2003 and has remained a major ratings win for CBS. The Season 18 premiere of the flagship series was the most-watched scripted cable show of the night with upwards of 10.1 million viewers. New episodes of NCIS air Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on CBS. and Paramount+, which you can subscribe to by clicking here. Disclosure: PopCulture.com is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of ViacomCBS.