The CBS show returned from its brief hiatus on Monday night with a new installment, which was the last episode that Yakira wrote before her death in November 2022.
Taking to Instagram ahead of the show's broadcast, Vanessa shared a carousel of behind-the-scenes images from the episode, titled 'Cabin Fever', including one photo showing a chair personalized with Yakira's name.
"BTS of the NEW @ncishawaiicbs episode tonight on @cbstv 10pm/9c! This one is special! Directed by our DP @jonesydop, DP by @jostnoco & the last episode written by our sweet Yakira Chambers (we miss you so much)," Vanessa wrote in the caption, adding a dove emoji.
"The patch is a beautiful shout-out to her (219 is the episode number & YC are her initials), we felt her in every way we could on set," she added, referring to the badge stitched onto the NASA team's uniform.
Fans rushed to the comments to show their support for the star and to praise the touching tribute. One person wrote: "It's the little details that make this show so special. Mahalo @ncishawaiicbs for always showing the true meaning of Aloha," while another added: "The wait has been long but finally we get a new episode and to Yakira."
The show's cinematographer Kurt Jones also commented, writing: "It's a great episode and was so much fun. Everyone worked so hard. I'm very proud of it and hope Yakira's family is too."
Yakira, who was a writer and story editor on the show, passed away at the age of 42 in November last year. Her preliminary cause of death was attributed to acute asphyxiation after she suffered breathing difficulties and collapsed outside a mall in Newport Beach, California.
At the time, Yakira's family shared a statement, which read in part: "Her sudden and untimely death has left us all grief-stricken. Yakira was a light, a symbol of hope to our community, a steward of our culture, and a representation of what pursuing your dreams looks like."
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