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LL Cool J joins NCIS Hawaii spin-off following Los Angeles cancelation

The actor plays Sam Hanna in the CBS police procedural series


LL Cool J as Sam Hanna looks at Callen in NCIS
Francesca Shillcock
Senior Features Writer
23 May 2023
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We might have waved goodbye to NCIS: LA but fans will be pleased to hear that one fan-favorite character from the spin-off will be back on screens very soon. LL Cool J, who plays Sam Hanna in the police procedural drama, is joining the cast of NCIS: Hawaii.

The actor and rapper, who is adored for his role in the CBS show, shared the news on Instagram. Posting a photo alongside Vanessa Lachey, who plays the leading role of Jane Tennant, the star wrote: "Couldn't keep Sam Hanna off the case for too long!! 

WATCH: NCIS star Chris O'Donnell discusses his wife's cameo on the show

"Starting tonight, Sam Hanna will join forces with the @ncishawaiicbs team as a recurring guest star in the upcoming third season." He added: "Tune in the season 2 finale of @ncishawaiicbs on @cbstv at 10 ET/PT or on @paramountplus for live streaming and on demand."

Fans were naturally thrilled with the news that Sam won't be away for long. One person wrote underneath his post: "Congratulations, glad they're not getting rid of Sam yet." Another said: "Yay he was the one I was going to miss the most from the LA crew, so glad to hear this."

MORE: NCIS Hawai'i stars offer rare details of working with 'wacky' Vanessa Lachey - exclusive 

MORE: NCIS star Eric Christian Olsen's dreamy family home with wife Sarah and three kids 

LL Cool J and Chris O'Donnell in NCIS: LA© CBS Photo Archive
LL Cool J and Chris O'Donnell in NCIS: LA

A third added: "This is so awesome! Makes this fan happy!" as a fourth commented: "OMG YESSS !!!! Epic announcement." Vanessa was clearly thrilled to have LL join the cast as she posted the same photo on Instagram with the caption: "Surprise! Our ohana is growing. We're so excited to have @llcoolj join #NCISHawaii!"

The news was also confirmed in a statement explaining that the star, who was born James Todd Smith, will reprise the role of Sam as a recurring guest star in the upcoming third season after he made an appearance in the Hawaii season two finale.

Bosses on the show said: "All of us at NCIS: Hawai’i have been huge fans of LL Cool J for years and couldn't be more thrilled or honored to be adding his spectacular talent to our ohana for season three."

Eric Christian Olsen and LL Cool J on NCIS: Los Angeles© Getty Images
Sam Hanna is a favorite on the show

Vanessa also said in a statement: "One of the most beautiful things about working on NCIS: Hawai'i is the show's ability to bring the franchise together. We have had so much fun spreading the aloha to NCIS and NCIS: LA with the triple crossover.

"Now, we have the amazing opportunity to bring Sam Hanna to Hawai'i to help the island solve some cases and maybe have a few laughs in the process. Welcome to the ohana, Todd! It's going to be a fun ride!"

Meanwhile, the NCIS: LA spin-off came to an end last week with a two-part finale and Sam's future was teased towards the end of the episode – leaving many to think there could be more in store for the agent.

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Upon arriving in Morocco, Sam and Callen (Chris O'Donnell) come across Nell (Renee Felice Smith) and other members of their team and are tasked with helping Hetty (Linda Hunt) who has "got herself into a bit of a pickle." Nell then turns to her team and says: "Are you ready for your next adventure?"

Viewers at home picked up on this detail and were convinced there more stories to tell. "Whoa, I didn't realize #NCISLA was ending! Last scene… will that team in Morocco have a spin-off? NCIS International?" one wrote on Twitter. Another said: "Why do I have a feeling we might get a new series with Callen and Sam following this new adventure???? #NCISLA."

NCIS Hawaii cast© CBS
The cast of NCIS: Hawaii
LL Cool J and Chris O'Donnell in NCIS finale© CBS Photo Archive
LL Cool J and Chris O'Donnell in NCIS finale
NCIS: Los Angeles on CBS© Getty Images
NCIS: Los Angeles recently came to an end

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