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The CBS crime drama NCIS: Hawaii follows a team of Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents who tackle high-stakes cases involving military personnel in beautiful Hawaii. If you’re wondering who makes up the talented cast bringing this tropical spin-off to life, read on!

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: The main stars of NCIS: Hawaii are Vanessa Lachey as Jane Tennant, Alex Tarrant as Kai Holman, Noah Mills as Jesse Boone, and Yasmine Al-Bustami as Lucy Tara.

Vanessa Lachey as Jane Tennant

Background and Role

Vanessa Lachey stars as Special Agent in Charge Jane Tennant, the head of NCIS Pearl Harbor and the first female Special Agent in Charge on any NCIS series. Jane is tough, resilient, and not afraid to bend the rules if it means getting justice.

She leads her elite team with confidence and skill, having risen up through the ranks over a distinguished career.

Originally from Tennessee, Jane has an unwavering commitment to integrity, justice and public service. She relocated to Hawaii with her family when she was assigned to lead the Pearl Harbor field office.

As a single mother, Jane prides herself on balancing her demanding career with raising her adopted teenage daughter. She has an affinity for the Islands and a deep respect for the rich fusion of cultures that co-exist there.

As the Special Agent in Charge, Jane oversees all major crimes investigated by her team. This can range from terrorism and espionage to maritime crime and even murder. She is sharp, resourceful, and cares deeply about protecting both American citizens and military personnel.

Jane also understands the cultural significance attached to many crimes on the Islands, and strives to always be respectful during investigations.

While extremely capable as an agent and leader, Jane does struggle with work-life balance as a single parent. She questions whether she can truly have it all – a fulfilling career and a family. This relatable dilemma makes Jane a compelling everywoman character for viewers.

Notable Previous Roles

Vanessa Lachey, born Vanessa Joy Minnillo, is perhaps best known as a television host, having hosted Total Request Live, Wipeout, Top Chef Junior and more. She has also worked as an entertainment correspondent on shows like Entertainment Tonight.

In 2003, Vanessa got her big break when she was crowned Miss Teen USA. This launched a successful modeling career, as she went on to appear in publications like Teen Vogue, Cosmopolitan and Maxim.

On the acting front, some of Vanessa’s most prominent roles have included:

  • Playing Kristen on the sitcom Dads in 2013-2014
  • Starring in several TV movies for the Hallmark Channel, including Love Is a Four Letter Word and A Christmas Angel
  • Appearing as a guest star on hit shows like How I Met Your Mother, Hawaii Five-0, and 30 Rock

While known mostly for lighthearted fare, Vanessa showcases more dramatic chops as the tough-as-nails Jane Tennant on NCIS: Hawaii. Viewers who know her from perkier entertainment reporter and romantic comedy roles may be surprised at how convincingly she steps into the shoes of a fiercely determined federal agent.

Early reviews have praised Vanessa’s versatility and commanding screen presence in this latest part.

Alex Tarrant as Kai Holman

Background and Role

Alex Tarrant stars as Officer Kai Holman, a junior lifeguard turned police officer, in the hit CBS crime drama NCIS: Hawaii. Kai provides crucial island navigation and ocean safety expertise to the NCIS team. She is often the first one in the water at a crime scene.

As a native Hawaiian, Kai has an intimate understanding of the islands’ culture and landscapes. She strives to honor her ancestors through practicing the values of aloha (love, compassion) and malama (to care for) in her work.

Though junior in rank, Kai’s ocean skills make her an invaluable member of the team.

Notable Previous Roles

While NCIS: Hawaii marks Alex Tarrant’s breakout role, she is no stranger to the small screen. Some of her previous acting credits include appearances on popular shows like Hawaii Five-0, Magnum P.I., and Doom Patrol.

In addition, Alex is an experienced dancer and choreographer. She traveled the world performing with the transformative dance company BodyTraffic. Alex’s dance background allows her to gracefully perform many of her own stunts on NCIS: Hawaii.

With Alex Tarrant bringing her acting talent, dancing ability, and authentic Hawaiian heritage to the role, Officer Kai Holman adds a unique, engaging, and integral element to the NCIS: Hawaii team.

Noah Mills as Jesse Boone

Background and Role

The talented and ruggedly handsome Noah Mills portrays Jesse Boone, an elite military member who sometimes assists the NCIS: Hawaii team. As a Navy SEAL, Jesse provides invaluable expertise during dangerous missions and high-risk operations.

He maintains a respectful working relationship with Special Agent Jane Tennant (Vanessa Lachey), though they must navigate some initially tricky interpersonal dynamics.

On the show, Jesse Boone’s background remains somewhat mysterious, hinting at a complex past. Viewers do know Jesse lost comrades early in his military career, which fuels his determination to complete missions successfully. He also battled PTSD after traumatic combat experiences.

However, Jesse found healthy ways to cope through surfing and meditation. His character represents the strength and resilience of many real-life veterans.

Notable Previous Roles

Before snagging his breakout part on NCIS: Hawaii in 2021, Noah Mills had landed various acting roles that showcased his versatility. For example, he portrayed the character Ryan in a 2021 episode of The Good Doctor. Some other notable Noah Mills performances include:

  • Joseph in the 2020 TV miniseries The Undoing
  • Dr. Ben in season 4 of the hit drama The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Mark Usher in seasons 5 and 6 of the political thriller House of Cards

With Mills’ rising stardom, fans hope to see his character take on an expanded role during future seasons of the enthralling crime series NCIS: Hawaii. Viewers seem excited to learn more details about Jesse Boone’s backstory and watch him collaborate more regularly with Agent Tennant’s talented team!

Yasmine Al-Bustami as Lucy Tara

Background and Role

Yasmine Al-Bustami stars as NCIS Special Agent Lucy Tara, a hardworking and enthusiastic recruit fresh out of training. As a green agent ready to prove herself, Lucy brings passion and tech savviness to the Pearl Harbor NCIS team.

Though she still has a lot to learn about fieldwork, Lucy’s skills in computers and digital forensics make her an invaluable asset.

Playing an intelligent yet spirited character like Lucy has been a dream role for Al-Bustami. In interviews, the actress has shared how much she relates to Lucy’s determination and curiosity. Like her on-screen counterpart, Al-Bustami also has a background in IT.

This shared interest in technology helped the actress quickly find her footing in Lucy’s specialized skill set involving networks, databases, and digital evidence. As Al-Bustami continues to portray Special Agent Tara week after week, she gravitates towards Lucy’s courage and integrity.

Notable Previous Roles

Before landing her career-defining part on NCIS: Hawaii, Yasmine Al-Bustami was best known for roles in popular CW shows. She had a recurring role as Mona Vanderwaal in the hit mystery series Pretty Little Liars from 2017-2018.

Al-Bustami also guest starred in 2018 on the comic book adaptation series The Originals, playing a werewolf named Lisina. Other early credits include small roles on Major Crimes, Young Sheldon, Lethal Weapon, and more.

Compared to her previous acting jobs, Al-Bustami has truly shined in her portrayal of Lucy Tara. As part of the NCIS franchise, the CBS crime procedural has given the actress her biggest platform yet. Over 17 seasons, NCIS and its spinoffs have remained wildly popular.

NCIS: Hawaii alone draws around 7.5 million live viewers per episode. So while her earlier parts amounted to minor blips on the TV landscape, Al-Bustami now stars in an acclaimed, far-reaching network series week after week.

If she continues on as Special Agent Tara, there is no telling how much more prominent her acting career may become.

Supporting Cast

Tori Anderson as Kate Whistler

Kate Whistler, played by Tori Anderson, is an ambitious and talented MI6 intelligence analyst who joins the Hawaii Five-0 task force. She quickly becomes an invaluable member of the team, providing critical intel and analysis to help solve complex cases.

Originally from the UK, Kate is shown to be extremely competent yet also fun-loving. She forms close bonds with her new Hawaiian ohana (family), bringing some British charm to the islands. According to news website CheatSheet, Tori Anderson brings heart and humanity to the role.

Kian Talan as Alex Tennant

Alex Tennant is a young, eager locals recruit played by Kian Talan. Having grown up in Hawaii, he provides the team unique insight into local culture and landscapes. Alex is ambitious and wants to prove himself, but still has a lot to learn from his seasoned colleagues.

As reported on websites like CBS, Alex adds youthful energy to the team dynamic. His local knowledge comes in handy on multiple occasions, but he must push past his inexperience to earn the trust of his colleagues. Kian Talan, a native Hawaiian himself, brings authenticity and heart to the role.

Jason Antoon as Ernie Malik

The team’s resident computer expert is Ernie Malik, played by Jason Antoon. Quirky and endearing, Ernie can hack into any system or database to help the team track down leads. He is always ready with an off-beat joke or movie reference.

As described on his CBS character bio, Ernie provides some much-needed comic relief, while also leveraging his impressive tech skills. He proudly talks about the cutting-edge gadgets and gizmos he designs for the team. Jason Antoon brings the perfect blend of brains and humor.


With a cast full of talented actors and actresses helmed by Lachey’s Jane Tennant, NCIS: Hawaii brings engaging characters and tropical flair to the successful NCIS crime procedural franchise. Tune in to new episodes airing on CBS to follow Special Agent in Charge Tennant and her skilled team as they tackle high-stakes Navy and Marine Corps cases against the picturesque Hawaiian backdrop.

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