Why Vanessa Lachey's NCIS: Hawai'i Actually Pairs Perfectly With NCIS Season 19

ncis hawai'i vanessa jachey jane tennant cbs
(Image credit: CBS)

Spoilers ahead for the series premiere of NCIS: Hawai'i on CBS.

The NCIS franchise has officially gotten bigger now that the long-awaited NCIS: Hawai'i has debuted on CBS. With Vanessa Lachey headlining as the first female lead in the hit franchise, NCIS: Hawai'i was understandably paired with Season 19 of NCIS in its new time slot on CBS. I personally had my doubts about how well the seasoned series would work leading into a brand new show, but the series premiere of Hawai'i has convinced me that they actually pair perfectly.

My doubts about NCIS: Hawai'i pairing well with NCIS stem from the fact that Hawai'i is the first installment in the NCIS franchise that didn't launch with a backdoor pilot, and CBS found huge success with NCIS: Los Angeles and NCIS: New Orleans after spinning them off of episodes of the parent series. Sure, NCIS: NOLA ended after its seventh season back in the spring, but a seven-season run is more than a little impressive. So, can Hawai'i reach the same heights without introducing the characters on the super successful NCIS, especially with NCIS airing just before it?

Well, NCIS: Hawai'i hit the ground running so quickly that I found myself happy that there were no NCIS characters around to mess up the flow of Special Agent in Charge Jane Tennant's team working out of Pearl Harbor. I didn't miss Gibbs at all (which is good considering he reportedly won't be around his own show as much this season, let alone popping up on spinoffs) and Hawai'i might not have been able to introduce the characters and their dynamics as well if the familiar NCIS characters were in the mix. And there's not as much dissonance between NCIS at 9 p.m. ET, with 18 seasons of history behind it, and the brand new NCIS: Hawai'i as I was afraid there would be.

I was admittedly somewhat biased about the shows possibly not pairing well due to the similar situation over on NBC last season, when Law & Order: Organized Crime debuted as a spinoff of Law & Order: SVU in its 22nd season, to great success. But Organized Crime wouldn't have been nearly as successful if it didn't center on the fan-favorite Christopher Meloni returning after nearly ten years away, and without getting its backdoor pilot via SVU. NCIS: Hawai'i launching without any established characters, not even on the same continent as the original show in the franchise, and without a backdoor pilot didn't seem like a guaranteed recipe for success.

But there's a freshness to NCIS: Hawai'i that was fun to watch after the Season 19 premiere of NCIS, which had the aftermath of some pretty depressing cliffhangers to deal with, not to mention a lot of history behind a lot of what was happening. Hawai'i clearly isn't going to be all fun and games, but there are enough similarities to NCIS for it to feel like part of the same world without the backdoor pilot push, and enough differences that it's fun without relying on any existing history. Sign me up for next week!

NCIS: Hawai'i will be back with new episodes on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on CBS, following new episodes of NCIS. Pairing NCIS with the latest spinoff has meant NCIS switching time slots for the first time ever so that FBI and FBI: Most Wanted could share Tuesdays with new spinoff FBI: International.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).