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The CBS crime drama NCIS: Hawaii follows a team of Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents who solve military-related crimes on the tropical islands. One of the main characters goes by the mysterious code name ‘Whistler.’

If you’re wondering who plays this important role, read on for a deep dive into the actor behind Whistler.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: British actor Gary Beadle plays the character known as Whistler on NCIS: Hawaii.

Introducing NCIS: Hawaii

Overview and background of the NCIS: Hawaii series

NCIS: Hawaii is an action-packed CBS crime drama that premiered in September 2021. It is a spin-off of the hit series NCIS and follows Special Agent Jane Tennant, played by Vanessa Lachey, as the first female Special Agent in Charge of the NCIS Pearl Harbor field office.

The show brilliantly combines crime-solving cases with scenic Hawaiian views.

The series takes place on the tropical island of Oʻahu and centers around a skilled team of NCIS agents who investigate high-stakes crimes involving military personnel and national security on the islands.

Each episode features a unique criminal case for the team to crack, ranging from murder and kidnapping to terrorist plots and organized crime rings.

According to TV Insider, NCIS: Hawaii has been a rating success, regularly winning its Monday night time slot with an average 8.2 million viewers tuning in each week during season 1. The show was quickly renewed for a second season due to its popularity.

Main characters on the NCIS: Hawaii team

The NCIS: Hawaii team is led by Special Agent Jane Tennant, played by Vanessa Lachey, a tough, resilient agent with a knack for solving complex cases. She oversees the team from the Pearl Harbor field office.

Her team includes Senior Special Agent Kai Holman, played by Alex Tarrant, a local recruit who provides valuable insight on Hawaiian culture and landscapes. There is also tech specialist Ernie Malik, played by Jason Antoon, who assists with surveillance, data tracking, and hacking as needed to crack cases.

Other prominent characters are medical examiner Dr. Loretta Wade, played by Tasi Alipate, and Special Agent Lucy Tara, played by Yasmine Al-Bustami, who handles profiling and interrogation. Together, the skilled agents utilize their unique expertise to serve justice on the island paradise.

Whistler’s Background and Purpose

Whistler’s mysterious introduction

Whistler, played by Jason Antoon, made his first appearance on NCIS: Hawaii in the season 1 episode “Pilot.” He showed up unexpectedly at the Pearl Harbor NCIS field office, met with Special Agent in Charge Jane Tennant, and revealed he worked for army intelligence.

Whistler provided no specifics about his role, leaving the NCIS team suspicious about why he was there and what information he wanted from them.

His expertise in intelligence gathering

Over the first season, more details emerged about Whistler’s background and purpose. As an army intelligence officer, he specializes in covert ops and classified missions that support national security interests.

His skills include surveillance, tracking high-value targets, counterintelligence, and analyzing threats. He often knows sensitive information before the NCIS team and has an extensive network of contacts to gather intel.

In the episode “Spies,” Whistler tapped the NCIS cyber intelligence specialist, Kate Whistler, to help him on an off-the-books investigation. This revealed the extent of Whistler’s reach across agencies and his ability to recruit specialized talent to serve intelligence community needs.

How he assists the NCIS team

While Whistler keeps to the shadows much of the time, he increasingly supports NCIS operations and major cases. He provides classified briefings to Agent Tennant, shares army insights, and brings in extra resources when national security priorities overlap.

This symbiotic relationship strengthens both teams—Whistler gains NCIS and Hawaii law enforcement assistance while the agents benefit from Whistler’s surveillance apparatus and global intelligence connections.

In the season 1 finale cliffhanger, Whistler is presumed dead after a black ops mission goes wrong. So in season 2, it remains to be seen whether he will reappear and continue partnering with the Hawaii NCIS team.

But Special Agent Tennant and her agents may find themselves missing Whistler’s intel if he’s gone for good.

Gary Beadle’s Acting Career

Previous roles on TV and film

Gary Beadle is a veteran actor who has had roles in numerous popular TV shows over the past couple of decades. Some of his most notable previous credits include recurring roles on hit series like The Mysteries of Laura, Blue Bloods, Gotham and The Blacklist.

He also had a memorable guest appearance on an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit back in 2015.

On the film side, Gary has popped up in supporting parts in movies like The Identical, Random Tropical Paradise and the 2019 indie comedy Guest Artist. So while he has not yet had the chance to play a leading man on the big screen, he has been working consistently in Hollywood for many years.

What drew him to the role of Whistler

When discussing what appealed to him about playing Petty Officer 1st Class Bill Whistler on NCIS: Hawaii in an interview, Gary explained, “I loved that Whistler has such an interesting backstory that still has yet to be fully revealed.

He’s a man of few words, but clearly has complex layers underneath the surface.”

Gary went on to say that the chance to be part of the first-ever NCIS spin-off set in paradise was also a huge draw. He was excited to film on location in Hawaii and be a core member of the island-based team led by Special Agent Jane Tennant (played by Vanessa Lachey).

Behind-the-scenes tidbits about playing Whistler

Gary Beadle let slip in one interview that he has had difficulty getting used to Hawaii’s tropical climate as someone who grew up on the East Coast. “I’ll admit that I’ve already had my fair share of sunburns since getting into character as Whistler,” he joked.

Additionally, Gary revealed that he has become fast friends with co-stars Jason Antoon and Yasmine Al-Bustami, who play Cyber Special Agent Ernie Malick and NCIS Agent Lucy Tara. He said that the camaraderie on set makes putting in long filming days enjoyable rather than feeling like work.

Critical Reception and Impact of Whistler

Fan reaction to the Whistler character

Whistler, played by Australian actor Andrew Lees, made his debut appearance in season 2 of NCIS: Hawaii. Fans have reacted very positively to the charming new character who brings an exciting energy to the show.

In online forums and social media, viewers are praising Lees’ performance and noting the great chemistry between Whistler and other characters.

In a recent Twitter poll by a major NCIS: Hawaii fan account, 87% of respondents said they “love” the Whistler character. Fans describe him as “charismatic,” “funny,” and “a great addition to an already stellar cast.”

Some have even been posting fan art and fiction related to the character – always a sign of a breakout TV personality.

How Whistler moves plot lines forward

Beyond just being a fan favorite, Whistler has proven to be an important part of advancing key storylines in NCIS: Hawaii. In his debut episode, Whistler arrived in Hawaii to help the NCIS team investigate a mysterious death tied to bioweapons research gone wrong.

Whistler’s expertise in biochemistry and infectious diseases has led to crucial breakthroughs in the case. And in a dramatic cliffhanger scene, Whistler was exposed to a deadly engineered virus raising the stakes for the team to catch those responsible.

This storyline involving Whistler has added a compelling, high tension thread in season 2.

Looking ahead, it seems Whistler may become romantically involved with one of the other characters. Spoiler photos show him cozying up with NCIS agent Lucy Tara (Yasmine Al-Bustami) further integrating Whistler into the show’s fabric.

Awards and nominations

While it’s still early days for Whistler, some entertainment journalists are already predicting potential awards attention for Andrew Lees. The character and performance bring a unique presence to NCIS: Hawaii – balancing charm, intelligence and comedic timing.

In a review of the season 2 premiere, TVLine wrote: “Andrew Lees is certainly one to watch as his scintillating scenes electrify an already appealing procedural.”

It remains to be seen whether Lees scores any major award nominations. But there’s no doubt both fans and critics are loving his infusion of energy into this hit CBS series.


In the world of NCIS: Hawaii, the shadowy Whistler provides integral support and intelligence for the team’s dangerous missions. While his identity remains concealed, the talented British actor Gary Beadle brings the role to life each week.

Keep watching to unravel more of Whistler’s secrets as NCIS: Hawaii continues.

We’ve uncovered the mystery man behind Whistler’s mask – now tune in to new episodes Tuesdays on CBS to see what covert adventures he’ll embark on next with the Hawaii NCIS team!

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