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The popular police procedural drama NCIS has recently expanded its franchise with a new series based in Hawaii. One of the main characters on NCIS: Hawaii is computer specialist Ernie Malik, who provides technical support and cyber security expertise to the NCIS Pearl Harbor team.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Ernie Malik is played by actor Jason Antoon.

About Ernie’s Character on NCIS: Hawaii

Ernie’s Role on the Team

As the computer and tech expert on the NCIS: Hawaii team, Ernie Malik plays a vital role in solving cases and tracking down criminals. With his genius-level intellect and advanced computer skills, Ernie can dig up hard-to-find information, analyze complex digital evidence, and gain access to secure databases as needed for investigations.

On a typical case, Special Agent Jane Tennant or another team member might approach Ernie asking him to look into a suspect’s phone records, track their movements via street cameras or ATM transactions, or comb through hard drives and online communications to uncover useful information.

Ernie can write computer scripts and programs on the fly to extract just what the team needs.

For example, in one episode when the team was investigating a kidnapped sailor, Ernie managed to gain access to the dark web sites where illegal goods and services are bought and sold, helping to track down where the missing sailor was being held captive.

His technological brilliance was instrumental in cracking that challenging case.

While he’s usually hunkered down behind a desk directing his typing skills into his sophisticated computer setup, Ernie will occasionally join the rest of the team in the field when there are computers to seize, networks to infiltrate, or digital components to an investigation.

The team always takes advantage of his rare in-person appearances to good-naturedly tease him about getting some fresh air for once!

Ernie’s Backstory and Personality

Ernie had an unusual path to joining the NCIS: Hawaii team. He previously worked in the private tech sector in Silicon Valley before suddenly moving to Hawaii. Not much is known about his past, but there are suggestions in the show that Ernie may have gotten in trouble with the law due to some of his former hacking exploits.

Rather than being punished for his actions, Ernie appears to have struck a deal to use his impressive skills for good by working with NCIS. This arrangement seems to be working out well, as Ernie has fully committed himself to supporting federal law enforcement investigations.

He seems to have found his calling catching bad guys, even if he does spend most of his day isolated in the team’s basement cybersecurity center.

Personality-wise, Ernie is described as both a genius and an oddball. He displays some quirky mannerisms and behaviors characteristic of stereotypical highly intelligent computer nerds. For example, Ernie tends to avoid eye contact during conversations and fidgets frequently.

He also struggles to interpret facial expressions and body language, hallmarks of someone with autism or Asperger’s Syndrome.

However, Ernie’s neurodiversity seems to lend itself perfectly to his role on the NCIS: Hawaii team. His atypical thinking and focused interests allow him to hyper-focus for long stretches as he sifts mountains of data to tease out useful nuggets for solving crimes.

Without Ernie’s specialized contributions, far fewer cases would get resolved.

Jason Antoon’s Biography and Career

Early Life and Background

Jason Antoon was born on March 31, 1979 in Staten Island, New York. From a young age, Antoon was drawn to performing and took dance lessons as a child. He went on to study at the prestigious LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in Manhattan.

After graduating high school, Antoon attended Purchase College’s Conservatory of Theatre Arts & Film program, further honing his acting talents.

Television and Film Career

Antoon got his big break when he landed a role on the soap opera One Life to Live in 2002. He played the character Adrian Lord III until the show’s cancellation in 2012. During that decade-long run, Antoon earned a Daytime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Younger Actor in 2007.

He also guest starred on popular shows like Law & Order and Third Watch.

Transitioning to comedy, Antoon has appeared in supporting roles for hit movies like The Dictator (2012), Vamps (2012), The Brass Teapot (2012), and Larry Gaye: Renegade Flight Attendant (2015). More recently, he starred as the co-lead in the 2018 Netflix romantic comedy The After Party and portrayed a crime scene cleaner in Hulu’s 2020 dark comedy series Woke.

Connection to Hawaii

When Jason Antoon landed the role of CSI team member Ernie Malik on the new CBS series NCIS: Hawaii in 2021, it marked his first major TV role in almost a decade. It also gave him the opportunity to split his time between New York City where he resides and the lush island setting of Oahu for filming.

In interviews, Antoon has shared how much he has enjoyed discovering Oahu’s natural landscapes, beaches, culture, and food in between shooting episodes. He took surf lessons and learned to paddle board after moving to Hawaii.

The show has proven successful, earning a season 2 renewal, allowing Antoon to continue soaking up island life and paradise views when the cameras aren’t rolling.

Jason Antoon’s Performance as Ernie

Reaction from Fans and Critics

Jason Antoon has received widespread acclaim from fans and critics alike for his portrayal of the intelligent, quirky tech specialist Ernie Malik in the hit CBS series NCIS: Hawaii. Many have praised his comedic timing and ability to provide necessary techno-babble while also bringing heart and humanity to the role.

On review aggregator sites like Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, Antoon’s performance has been singled out even when reviews for the show itself have been mixed. As one critic put it, “Jason Antoon is the breakout star of the Hawaii-based NCIS team.

While his character at first seems like the typical tech nerd, Antoon gives Ernie a warmth and charm that makes you root for him.” Fans on social media have particularly embraced his bromance with fellow agent Jesse Boone (Noah Mills).

In a recent profile, showrunner Christopher Silber explained why he thinks Antoon resonates so much with viewers: “Jason just brings this incredibly endearing, lovable quality to Ernie. He can spout off the most technical IT jargon, but then in the next moment give you these hilarious little asides or quips that remind you of his humanity.”

This combination of intelligence and authenticity likely explains why Antoon has developed a devoted fanbase eager to see more Ernie-centric stories.

Awards and Recognition

While the show has yet to receive any major award nominations in its first two seasons, Jason Antoon’s performance has not gone unrecognized. He won Best Supporting Actor at the 2022 Ohana Hawaii Film Festival.

As part of the honor, the festival director praised him as “the comedic soul of NCIS: Hawaii” and highlighted his ability to “steal nearly every scene he’s in.”

There are also hopes Antoon may receive individual attention when 2023 awards season arrives. Critic Wesley Morris put him on his personal shortlist of Emmy-deserving performances, saying “I dare any voter to not smile when Jason Antoon’s Ernie comes on screen.” Fans have mobilized online campaigns and are flooding Emmy pundits with reasons why Antoon should be nominated.

While it is still early, the groundswell seems to suggest Antoon could find himself joining his co-stars Vanessa Lachey, Alex Tarrant, and Noah Mills as household names. His talent agency even created “For Your Antoon-sideration” punny ads touting his merits.

And with the show renewed for a third season, there will be plenty more opportunities for Antoon to earn plaudits for bringing the beloved Ernie Malik to life.


In summary, the character of Ernie Malik on NCIS: Hawaii is played by experienced actor Jason Antoon. Antoon brings depth and personality to the role through his acting talents and personal connection to the Hawaiian islands.

Fans are responding positively to his performance, praising the humor and heart he gives Ernie. With Antoon as part of the talented cast, NCIS: Hawaii looks primed for continued success.

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