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Exclusive: NCIS: Hawai'i stars reveal what to expect from season three and LL Cool J's future on show

Co-stars and real-life couple Jason Antoon and Seana Kofoed sat down with HELLO!

Seana Kofoed and Jason Antoon
Nicky Morris
TV and film writer
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NCIS: Hawai'i made its long-awaited return to our screens last week with its hotly-anticipated third season, which sees Jane Tennant (Vanessa Lachey) back in action following the traumatic events of the series two finale. 

While production was delayed until December last year due to the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, the cast are back on set on the island of O'ahu to shoot the new episodes.

As filming for the procedural continues, stars Jason Antoon and Seana Kofoed – aka Ernie Malin and Commander Carla Chase – spoke with HELLO! from their Hawaii home, where they opened up about the new season, including what fans can expect from upcoming episodes and what it's like working with NCIS veteran LL Cool J

Jason Antoon as Ernie Malik in NCIS: Hawai'i© CBS
Jason Antoon plays Ernie Malik in the series

"He's cool. He's a different vibe," Jason, 52, said of LL, who joined the cast as a recurring guest star after spending 14 seasons playing Sam Hanna in NCIS: Los Angeles, which came to an end in May last year.  

"It's like throwing a wrench into something in a way that's only good for our show and as a group of people outside of being actors," explained Jason, adding that LL regularly has his co-stars on their feet by "blasting music" between takes.

Vanessa Lachey and LL Cool J in NCIS: Hawai'i © Karen Neal/CBS
LL Cool J joined the cast as a guest star

"He infuses a totally new energy," said Seana, 53, who alongside NCIS: Hawai'i is currently starring in her new movie, ClearMind, which she wrote and produced. "You have no choice but for it to lift your spirits."

While it's currently unknown whether LL will secure a permanent role on the show, it's clear the cast are keen for him to stick around. "If he's happy to be here, we're all thrilled to have him because he's a really fun energy and a talented guy," said Seana. 

Seana Kofoed as Commander Chase© CBS
Seana Kofoed plays Commander Chase

LL's introduction to the cast isn't the only major change fans can expect from the new season. Due to production delays caused by the strike, the new season is just ten episodes in length, rather than the regular 22. 

"Because of the ten-episode order, it's truncated," said Jason, who went on to tease the developing friendship between Vanessa and LL's characters. "There's definitely an arc for Tennant in what she goes through and her relationship with Sam Hanna," he said, explaining that Hanna becomes a "close friend" of Tennant's as she deals with "some personal issues". 

Jason Antoon and Seana Kofoed© @jasonantoon/Instagram
Jason and Seana have been married since 2010

"We're still going through the season and seeing what's in store for of the character arcs that we already know about," the actor continued. "Because it's only ten episodes, there's a little wiggle room to explore more of the relationships. Within the crime-solving, you're seeing the dynamic of the characters more than revelations because there's not really any room for that."

The actor also touched on Ernie's relationship with FBI agent Kate Whistler (Tori Anderson). "It's so funny because the writers see our relationships in real life and it's the same on-screen," he said. "Tori is so fun, funny and sweet. I feel like my relationship with her is the same on-screen."

Tori Anderson as Kate Whistler in NCIS: Hawai'i© CBS
Tori Anderson as Kate Whistler

As for what's in store for Kate over the coming episodes, he speculated: "Does she become a permanent member? Does she leave the FBI? I don't know. The writers don't tell us those things but there's some clues in there."

NCIS airs on Monday nights on CBS at 9pm. 

ClearMind is available on Amazon and Tubi. 

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