NCIS: Hawai'i stands apart from the other NCIS shows for several reasons, from its tropical setting to its unique characters. At the center of all that is Vanessa Lachey's Jane Tennant, the first female Special Agent in Charge of NCIS in Pearl Harbor. Jane is also the first woman to lead an NCIS team in the franchise, and Lachey assured fans "won't be disappointed" when the show returns for Season 2 in September.
Lachey had "big shoes to fill" as the lead star of an NCIS show, she recently told PopCulture.com in an exclusive interview. Being the first female lead in the franchise was not something she took lightly. "I found the strength in the fact that I can command attention and respect and the honor of not only the Navy and my coworkers but of my family. So I really try to marry the two, love of country, love of family," Lachey said of playing Jane. "When I got the job, my favorite thing to think about was that she can be a badass with a warm heart."
Jane also approaches situations in a different way than the other NCIS leads. "You don't always have to come in hot," Lachey said of Jane's strategy. "You can massage the situation and assess what's going on. And how would you handle it as a mother and as a woman? And then get it done."
Throughout the first season, the chemistry between Jane and Capt. Joe Milius (Enver Gjokaj) was undeniable. In the finale, the two realized if their relationship would continue to develop romantically, it would have to be long-distance since Joe was ordered back to Washington. Lachey gave a diplomatic answer when asked about Joe and Jane's future.
"I'm going to have to leave you hanging on that one. I will say we started filming season two and there are some sparks and it may or may not be Milius," Lachey said. "But you won't be disappointed. That I can promise."
Each NCIS cast is also a family, both on the show and off-camera. The locations for the shows also offer different stories. You can't tell the same story in Los Angeles, Washington, or Hawaii, since the locations are so different. "Everyone's so different and unique and offers such different storylines," Lachey said.
The stories in Hawaii can be even more radically different since the state is so far from the mainland. "We do have the luxury of the island of Hawaii and the islands of Hawaii, specifically of Oahu and Pearl," Lachey said. "The military there has been so gracious to us and the people there on the island have been so welcoming and kind to us, but I think there's definitely a mutual respect. We are kind as well and respectful back." Lachey said the show benefits from the Hawaii setting as another character but noted that the other two ongoing NCIS shows have their own unique character.
NCIS: Hawai'i returns on CBS Monday, Sept. 19 at 10 p.m. ET. In the meantime, Lachey is spreading the word about Dairy Queen's July 28 event, DQ Miracle Treat Day. Each time a customer buys a Blizzard treat, Dairy Queen will donate $1 to Children's Miracle Network Hospitals.