NCIS: Hawai’i‘s Tori Anderson Teases a ‘Happy, Domestic’ #Kacy in Season 2 — Oh, and About That Serenade…. (2024)

Coming off of Kate’s season-ending serenade of Lucy, what will NCIS: Hawai’i‘s Tori Anderson do for an encore?

In Season 1 of the NCIS franchise’s newest entry, DIA officer Kate Whistler started off as a bit of a foil for NCIS Special Agent Jane Tennant’s (Vanessa Lachey) team, occasionally operating at cross-purposes. But the series premiere let slip that Kate in private sparked in a very different way with Special Agent Lucy Tara (played by Yasmine Al-Bustami).

Kate and Lucy (aka “Kacy”) would navigate ebbs and flows in their nascent relationship, namely when the former’s girlfriend (say what?) slipped into town. But by the season’s very end, as Jane hosted a pot luck for the extended team, Kate showed up to take Ernie’s “grand gesture” advice very literally and serenade her love, with Bob Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love.” Following an instant of confusion, and upon hearing Kate plainly profess her love, Lucy pulled her ex into a long kiss, as the partygoers on the deck whooped and hollered.

With NCIS: Hawai’i‘s Season 2 premiere now a month away (on Monday, Sept. 19) — and ahead of the Sept. 6 DVD release of NCIS: Hawai`i — Season One, via CBS Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Entertainment — TVLine spoke with Tori Anderson about Kate Whistler’s evolution-to-date, that season-ending serenade, and what to expect from the new episodes.

  • NCIS: Hawai’i‘s Tori Anderson Teases a ‘Happy, Domestic’ #Kacy in Season 2 — Oh, and About That Serenade…. (1)

    TVLINE | Tori, we must talk about that season-ending serenade. What was your first reaction when you saw that that was coming?
    Oh, my gosh…. Well, I got a call from [series co-creator] Matt Bosack, because he wrote the episode, and he told me about it, and I was sort of utterly in shock — but I was really excited. I mean, I think it was a monumental moment for Kate. She sort of takes things at face value, which has been a fun thing to play, with very little room for interpretation. So, when Ernie suggests singing as a grand gesture, she hears just that. [Laughs] But I mean, it was a nerve-wracking moment. I don’t, generally, like singing in front of people, so I was able to utilize my own fear in the moment and combine it with Kate’s fear, so it was really fun. And at the end of the day, I was really happy that she and Lucy finally resolved their issues and were able to move past everything.

    TVLINE | I was curious, did you have to reconcile how good of a singer Tori is with how good of a singer Kate is? Or do they pretty much have the same level of ability?
    You know, I tried to make it a little bit more shaky. I mean, my mom called me after, and she said, “Oh, wow, you really made it sound nervous,” and I don’t know if that was actually me or not. I couldn’t really tell. But yeah, we did talk about how good of a singer she would be, and at the end of the day, she wouldn’t be belting out something on Broadway. I tried to make it a bit more real.

  • NCIS: Hawai’i‘s Tori Anderson Teases a ‘Happy, Domestic’ #Kacy in Season 2 — Oh, and About That Serenade…. (3)

    TVLINE | As you said, it kind of speaks to her overall Season 1 evolution, because at first I’m sure there were people who thought, “Oh, she’s going to be the stiff foil, the bureaucrat who’s always enforcing the rules,” and Lucy would be our only “in” to see what kind of a person Kate really is. But as the season went on, we saw that, for example, there’s certainly a professional respect between her and Special Agent Jane Tennant.
    Yeah, that was a really fun thing to play. The trajectory of her character really, genuinely surprised me, because when I auditioned, I had only read the pilot episode. I loved how direct she was. And I loved that she cared mostly, solely, about her job. She worked in kind of a male-dominated field and wanted to be the best that she could be, and didn’t take any gruff from anyone. In the pilot episode, she had a lot of tensions with Vanessa’s character, so to see that play out — the kind of friendship and mutual respect that evolved with both of them — really was a gift, in a lot of ways, that I didn’t expect. That’s a testament to the writers and what they brought to the show and how they let Kate grow. I really do think her Season 1 arc really was astounding, and a really fun thing to play.

    TVLINE | You talked about auditioning…. [Co-showrunner] Jan Nash told me how they read you over Zoom, where everybody is the size of the head and shoulders in a box, so they weren’t quite prepared for the in-person height difference between you and Yasmine [Al-Bustami].
    I don’t think we were prepared for the height difference, either! [Laughs] And eventually, I started wearing flats.

    TVLINE | I saw. I saw.
    And flats don’t always work greatly with pencil skirts, but my goodness, the wardrobe department made it work. Yeah, it was interesting, but it was a fun thing to play, the height difference. There are couples all over the world who have that kind of height difference, so that part wasn’t surprising. But it doesn’t necessarily always lend itself to on camera, because then you have crazy angles and everything. So, yeah, Yaz had to step on a few boxes, and I had to put some flats on! But we made it work.

  • NCIS: Hawai’i‘s Tori Anderson Teases a ‘Happy, Domestic’ #Kacy in Season 2 — Oh, and About That Serenade…. (5)

    TVLINE | Looking ahead to Season 2, can you tease any interesting dynamics between Kate and other characters coming up? Any capers you might be getting involved in?
    Well, I will say that with Kate and Lucy, you start seeing them more in a domestic light, which is really nice. It’s a happy, healthy environment — not like the first season, which was rather tumultuous. And you do see her relationships grow with everyone else on the team, like with Ernie. There’s stuff with Jesse (played by Noah Mills), which is nice…. I mean, we’re only shooting Episode 5 now, so there’s still a lot of room for things to happen in a 22-episode season.

    TVLINE | I always enjoy how Ernie (played by Jason Antoon) obviously has a soft spot for Kate because of, you know…
    I know, and I love Jason. My scenes with him are probably some of my favorites. He just brings so much light and joy to everything he does, and Ernie really is a supporter of their relationship, a person who’s developed into this kind of voice of reason for both of them, in the funny world that he sort of resides in. It’s nice in a procedural to talk about things other than work, which this has kind of made room for.

    TVLINE | Just don’t take him so literally in the future.
    I know! I know. [Laughs] Kate needs to work on that.

  • NCIS: Hawai’i‘s Tori Anderson Teases a ‘Happy, Domestic’ #Kacy in Season 2 — Oh, and About That Serenade…. (7)

    TVLINE | NCIS: Hawaii represents the first time that an NCIS show has had an LGBTQ agent from go. Some series have added them a few seasons in, but this is the first time an NCIS show launched with an LGBTQ agent. What was important to you in telling that story, and getting right about it?
    I really do believe that seeing queer characters and couples taking up the same space in airtime as heterosexual relationships is vitally important. It’s essential to represent the real world and the world as it is, so I was really excited to do that. And also, to show the relationship for exactly what it is — it’s a relationship. Bringing that diversity adds to exciting, interesting stories.

    I also think it initiates the breakdown of blinders that have been so prevalent in the media, so I feel very fortunate and very proud and very sensitive to the fact that I’m able to kind of step into this role. And seeing the response has been astounding in a way that I didn’t expect; it speaks to how imperative it is that this is represented.

    TVLINE | You did a great job of playing every little step in Kate’s journey. Like, is she going to go public with her truth? Is she not? And then what it all built to in the season finale….
    It was a total evolution, though I think there’s still a lot of fear involved in her life. She leads a very private life, and I think that’s part of her background. She isn’t as open as Lucy is, so I think she’s learning a lot of things. Lucy has it a bit easier in her viewpoint than Kate does, but I think what’s great about Kate is that she is taking things in. She is being a bit of a sponge, she’s trying to adapt, to the best of her ability. Yes, she falters a lot of the time, but she’s learning, and I think that’s the best we can do as humans, is continue to learn and continue to grow.

  • NCIS: Hawai’i‘s Tori Anderson Teases a ‘Happy, Domestic’ #Kacy in Season 2 — Oh, and About That Serenade…. (8)

    TVLINE | Has there been any derring-do for you in Season 2, in the episodes you’ve filmed so far? Any skulking around corners with a side arm, chasing after baddies…?
    Oh, yes, there is some exciting stuff coming Kate’s way, for sure. She kind of gets into this one scuffle a bit….

    TVLINE | And lastly, because the Hawaii-based shows tend to be close when they’re all out there together: Did you happen to know anybody on the Magnum cast who you got to be personally excited for, when their show got saved by NBC?
    I don’t know anyone on Magnum, but I do know people on [Disney+’s] Doogie [Kamealoha, M.D.], so that was really nice to hear they got renewed. I haven’t met anyone from Magnum because last year was a bit of a hectic season, so I never really made anyone’s acquaintance. But that’s great, and what I’ve heard is that everyone’s really excited to be coming back. It just shows the power of a solid fan base.

    TVLINE | 
I mean, who wouldn’t want to work in Hawaii? Except for the paying those gas prices, I guess.
    Oh, yeah. You have to pay for gas, for sure, but everything else, it’s beautiful!

    Want more scoop on NCIS: HAwai’i Season 2, or for any other show? Email InsideLine@tvline.com and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

NCIS: Hawai’i‘s Tori Anderson Teases a ‘Happy, Domestic’ #Kacy in Season 2 — Oh, and About That Serenade…. (2024)
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