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LeVar Burton Is Returning To The NCIS Franchise, Explains Why It Was A ‘Healing’ Experience For Him

Though he's arguably best known for his potentially ongoing Star Trek work, multi-hyphenate LeVar Burton also has some experience with series on the opposite end of the spectrum from Trek, such as the NCIS franchise. NCIS: Hawai’i is getting ready for a big two-part episode that will kick off following the NFL's AFC Divisional Playoff Game. Not only is the first part airing on a special night, but it will boast Burton's return to the franchise as director. And according to the entertainer, it was not only a good time but also a “healing” experience.

Prior to directing the upcoming NCIS: Hawai’i episode, LeVar Burton directed 10 episodes of NCIS: New Orleans, as well as an episode of JAG, the series that kickstarted the NCIS universe. Now the fan-favorite actor and director is back behind the camera for the newest NCIS iteration, and Burton opened up to TV Insider about the experience, saying:

Even though I was working, it was still in Hawai’i. I really needed some time in the sun. I thrive in an island environment. Just being in that atmosphere was very healing for me. My soul needed it as much as my body did. The healing power of nature is very real to me, and so I took full advantage of my presence there while we were shooting because it’s special energy over there. It’s one of the most special places on the planet.

With the episode “Spies Part 1” landing such a high-profile time-slot, and with NCIS: Hawai’i only being in its first season, the directing gig wasn’t without challenges. Working with a still-evolving cast and crew for the first time can definitely spark some struggles. But because working on a gorgeous island is more relaxing and uplifting than most places, LeVar Burton definitely made sure to take advantage of everything he could, and the efforts seem to have had a magical effect.

It’s unknown if LeVar Burton will return to direct a late-season episode of NCIS: Hawai’i, or even installments of NCIS or NCIS: Los Angeles. Considering it looks like Burton had a great time in the Aloha State, it wouldn’t be surprising if he were to return to the spinoff in some capacity. Maybe the next time he directs, he can also pop in front of the camera as a guest star, since Burton did appear in NCIS: New Orleans in 2019, so perhaps his character Rufus Nero can make a reappearance in a different series? One can hope!

Along with directing, LeVar Burton has also been working more on his hosting skills. Besides Star Trek, many will recognize him as the host of popular children’s educational program Reading Rainbow. In 2021, Burton served as one of the many rotating celebrity guest hosts on Jeopardy, after which fans kept petitioning for him to become the new permanent host. Even though that gig didn’t work out, he is set to host and executive produce the upcoming Trivial Pursuit game show. It doesn't seem likely that the board game adaptation will immediately feature any celebrity-based episodes in which Vanessa Lachey and other NCIS: Hawai'i stars could appear, but stranger things have happened. 

Don’t miss LeVar Burton’s episode of NCIS: Hawai'i, “Spies Part 1,” after the AFC Divisional Playoff Game on Sunday, January 23, on CBS! “Spies Part 2” will air in the drama's regular time-slot on Monday evening. Check out CinemaBlend’s 2022 winter and spring TV schedule to see what other shows to look out for.

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