Last season, when CBS cancelled NCIS: New Orleans and replaced it with a new edition of the show, this time from Hawai’i, I was, admittedly, disappointed. The network ranks last among broadcast networks in LGBTQ representation so the loss of NCIS’ lone lesbian character would reverberate. It never crossed my mind that a new edition of NCIS might bring someone to replace Tammy Gregorio and her enviable swagger…but it did…two some ones, in fact.
Early in the episode, the NCIS: Hawai’i team is called to the scene of a plane crash: the Navy’s convinced it’s accidental but NCIS isn’t so sure. The team disperses to learn about the pilot, with Lucy Tara (Yasmine Al-Bustami) dispatched to get the pilot’s autopsy results. But before Lucy can get her hands on the autopsy, Kate Whistler (Tori Anderson), a Defense Intelligence Agency agent, intercepts the report. When the direct approach doesn’t work — Kate refuses to pass along the report until she can clear it — Lucy tries to be more deferential but Kate remains firm. Luckily for NCIS, Lucy’s skilled at reading upside down and recounts details that she saw on the report as Kate was reading it.
While Lucy’s parlor trick pays dividends for NCIS, it gets Kate in trouble with her superiors, who think she violated the security protocol. Kate stomps into NCIS and threatens to file a complaint against Lucy. Thankfully Lucy’s boss — Jane Tennant, played by Vanessa Lachey — talks Kate off the ledge but later when Lucy shows up at Kate’s place, she offers her apologies. There’s a brief beat…long enough for the energy between them to shift…and, suddenly, they’re kissing.
As Kate pushes Lucy’s jacket off her shoulders, Lucy pulls away and says, “no, no, no, we can’t do this again.”
Kate snaps out of the revelry and concurs, “yeah, it’s a…horrible mistake.”
(Lucy laughs uncomfortably and corrects, “I wouldn’t say horrible.” I laughed.)
Kate pours herself a large glass of wine and asks Lucy why she’s really there. Lucy explains that she needs information to help her case and Kate’s first question is about how helping NCIS can help her, professionally. Lucy can’t offer anything besides a job well done and Kate responds by asking her to leave. Somehow, though, Lucy convinces Kate to pass along the information and the team’s able to find the pilot’s killer and take down a Chinese spy ring.
I’m trying not to get my hopes up about this pairing; after all, CBS procedurals, in particular, are notorious for avoiding the personal lives of their agents (aside from those “very special episodes”). But two queer characters, with a relationship history, who are part of the main cast of the show…how can NCIS: Hawai’i avoid telling that story? At the very least, they’ve already seen as much action in one episode than Tammy Gregorio did in four seasons.