NCIS: Hawai’i Star Vanessa Lachey Recalls First Time Her Kids Saw Her On The Show, Talks What Her Role Means For Representation

NCIS: Hawaii Jane Tennant Vanessa Lachey CBS
(Image credit: CBS)

After a successful first season of CBS' NCIS: Hawai’i, Vanessa Lachey is preparing for the second season. With Lachey as the first female lead of an NCIS series in the long-running franchise, there is plenty to celebrate, especially when it comes to representation. Now the actress is opening up about how her kids reacted when they first saw her on the show and what it means to her.

Lachey portrays Special Agent in Charge Jane Tennant, the first female SAC of the NCIS: Hawai’i team. The actress spoke to Insider about her role on the CBS drama and how one of her kids had a reaction like she was looking at a superhero when watching the series:

For me, when my children saw it and my daughter saw it, and the way she looked at me like her Wonder Woman and she saw me representing women, that hit me. And then I realized it's a bigger picture than just my children. This is for all little girls and all little boys, too. Anybody that feels different.

In a franchise headlined by men up until the debut of NCIS: Hawai'i, Vanessa Lachey starring as Jane Tennant is historical and meaningful for both television and her family. Lachey’s kids looking at her like she is literal Wonder Woman speaks volumes, and she made it clear that the importance of her character extends beyond young girls.

And the actress can be confident that her representation is reaching a wide audience, as her show became a hit for CBS right away thanks to the millions of people tuning in, and the network wasted no time in ordering a full first season. Even if little girls and little boys aren't exactly the target demographic for the NCIS franchise, her role as Jane Tennant clearly has a larger impact. 

Lachey went on to explain what her role means to her in terms of representation and honoring the real-life NCIS heroes:

It means that we're moving in the right direction in terms of what's on camera, because it's actually in the real world. You know, there are women in my position who are of my ethnicity in NCIS, and so to be able to see it represented on television is so... It's an honor that I get to be the one to do the representation.

The NCIS franchise has been around for nearly two decades (with Season 20 of the original series premiering in the fall) and to have Lachey be the first female lead is definitely one for the books. Considering the longevity of shows like NCIS: LA and the original, it's even possible that she'll be on screen playing Jane Tennant for many years to come.

When Season 2 of NCIS: Hawai’i premieres this fall, fans will be getting more of Jane and her crew. Whether or not Hawai’i will ever cross over with both NCIS and NCIS: LA remains to be seen, although it did crossover with the original back in the spring. It should be interesting to see what will happen in the upcoming season after how Season 1 wrapped, and what more representation will come across the screen.

Don’t miss Vanessa Lachey in NCIS: Hawai’i Season 2 premiering on Monday, September 19 at 10 p.m. EST on CBS! Check out CinemaBlend’s 2022 TV schedule to see what else to look forward to in the coming months.

Megan Behnke
Freelance TV News Writer

Passionate writer. Obsessed with anything and everything entertainment, specifically movies and television. Can get easily attached to fictional characters.