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NCIS: Hawai'i cancellation: Why is the show coming to an end?

The spin-off show is not coming back for season four

Nicky Morris
TV and film writer
April 29, 2024
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NCIS: Hawai'i fans were devastated when they heard that the popular crime show, which is a spin-off from the original long-running NCIS drama, is ending after its third season

The cancellation comes just weeks after CBS green-lit another season of NCIS, as well as a second series of its Australia-set spin-off, NCIS: Sydney. So, why is NCIS: Hawai'i coming to an end? Here's all we know…

WATCH: NCIS: Sydney has been renewed for season 2 - have you caught up on series 1?

Why has NCIS: Hawai'i been cancelled? 

It was announced over the weekend that NCIS: Hawai'i would not be returning for a fourth season. While CBS has yet to reveal the reason behind the cancellation, it's likely that budget limits are to blame. Not only this, but CBS already has a strong line-up of shows scheduled for next season, including the upcoming NCIS: Origins.

According to Deadline, uncertainty at the parent company Paramount Global is also a factor, with the business currently in the process of being sold. 

Alex Tarrant as Kai Holman, Vanessa Lachey as Jane Tennant, and Tori Anderson as Kate Whistler in NCIS: Hawai'i© CBS
NCIS: Hawai'i has been cut after three seasons

While we knew NCIS: Hawai'i was likely to face budget cuts and a shortened season of around 13 episodes if it got renewed, its ending still comes as a surprise considering the efforts made to keep it on air. Producers had agreed to a huge budget cut and were open to other concessions to keep the drama alive. 

The feeling of disappointment is a familiar one for NCIS fans as the Hawai'i spin-off isn't the only show in the franchise to be cut by CBS. NCIS: Los Angeles came to an end after 14 seasons in May last year, while NCIS: Orleans ended after seven in 2015. 

Yasmine Al-Bustami as Lucy Tara and Alex Tarrant as Kai Holman in NCIS: Hawai'i© CBS
Budget limits are likely to blame

How have NCIS: Hawai'i stars reacted to the news? 

It's safe to say the news has come as a huge blow to the show's cast, who have since taken to social media to share their disappointment. 

Vanessa Lachey, who made history as the first female lead in the NCIS franchise as Jane Tennant, shared her heartbreak in a post to her Instagram Story on Saturday. "Gutted, confused, blindsided," she penned, adding: "Grateful, confident, beloved fans!

"Processing this news and still being present with my family. I love you all! Maholo Nui Loa."

Vanessa Lachey shares reaction to NCIS Hawaii cancelation© Instragram
Vanessa Lachey shared her disappointment on Instagram

Tori Anderson, who played FBI agent Kate Whistler, also took to social media with a message for fans. "Having a really hard time processing this one," she wrote on X. "Thank you to our incredible crew who made every single day feel like I was living a dream. I want to say thank you to all the fans. My heart breaks for you as well.

"This is a huge loss for representation," she added, concluding with: "Love you all so much."

Tori Anderson plays Kate Whistler in NCIS: Hawai'i© CBS
Tori Anderson said the cancellation was a 'huge loss for representation'

Meanwhile, Jason Antoon – aka Ernie Malik – shared his sadness in a post on Instagram. "This business is brutal and makes no sense. But we had soooo much fun. Love you all and mahalo," penned the actor. 

The show's co-creator/executive producer Christopher Silber also shared his gratitude to fans of the drama on X. Recalling the show's beginnings, he penned: "Four years ago, @JanNash100 @mattbosack and I started something very special. We joined with an incredible cast,  amazing writers and crew...  and gathered in Hawai'i to make a show.  But ended up creating an ohana. I'm so grateful to you all."

Jason Antoon as Ernie Malik in NCIS: Hawai'i© CBS Photo Archive
Jason Antoon said the show's cancellation 'makes no sense'

Fellow co-creator Matt Bosack added: "#NCISHawaii was a dream. And while it's ended, I am forever grateful to my partners, @csilb and @JanNash100, our amazing cast, led by @VanessaLachey, the entire crew, and this wonderful island I call home

"I'm proud of the stories we were able to tell over these 3 seasons. To tell fun Navy crime mysteries but also dig into ideas about family, life, love, identity... To all the fans, especially those who saw themselves in these characters, mahalo nui loa. A hui hou."

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