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Meet the cast of NCIS: Hawaii: Yasmine Al-Bustami, Noah Mills, Vanessa Lachey, and Alex Tarrant

Photo: Christopher Patey/CBS

By Nate Millado

New team, who this? Vanessa Lachey & Co. are making history over at NCIS: Hawaii. She's the first female lead of an NCIS series, playing the first female boss at NCIS Pearl Harbor, which also features the franchise's first LGBTQ+ agent in Lucy Tara (played by Yasmine Al-Bustami). Read on for our dossier on the new agents—and familiar faces—of CBS' action-packed new series.

NCIS: Hawai'i airs on Mondays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CBS and streams on Paramount+.

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Jane Tennant (Vanessa Lachey)

Vanessa Lachey

NCIS: Hawaii stars Vanessa Lachey as Special Agent in Charge Jane Tennant.

Photo: Karen Neal/CBS

Who's Jane: The first female boss at NCIS Pearl Harbor is a "badass with a warm heart," actress Vanessa Lachey tells TV Guide. "She's making it work in a man's world, and she doesn't take no for an answer," Lachey continues. "At the same time, she's human and she's learning how to juggle her emotions and being a [divorced mom of 2]."

Where you've seen Vanessa: Most recently seen in the sitcom Call Me Kat, Lachey also guest-starred in CBS' Hawaii Five-0 and How I Met Your Mother. The former Miss Teen USA 1998 has parlayed her engaging personality into a slew of high-profile hosting gigs, including Netflix's Love Is Blind, MTV's Total Request Live, and cooking comp Top Chef Jr. She once competed in Dancing With the Stars along with her boy-bander husband Nick Lachey, with whom she shares three kids.

Jesse Boone (Noah Mills)

Noah Mills

Noah Mills as Jesse Boone

Photo: Karen Neal/CBS

Who's Jesse: The NCIS senior field agent is second-in-command and a former homicide detective who knows the islands' hiking trails well.

Where you've seen Noah: As Nico in the hit Marvel series The Falcon and Winter Soldier, as well as roles in TV series The Enemy Within, The Baker and the Beauty, and The Brave. As a high-end model, Mills was the face of campaigns for Tom Ford, Dolce & Gabbana, and Giorgio Armani.

Lucy Tara (Yasmine Al-Bustami)

Yasmine Al Bustami

Yasmine Al-Bustami as Lucy Tara

Photo: Best Available Screengrab/CBS

Who's Lucy: An eager junior field agent who also happens to be the franchise's first LGBTQ+ agent.

Where you've seen Yasmine: The Dallas native (yes, she says "y'all" a lot) appeared on S.W.A.T. and recurred on The CW's The Originals.

Ernie Malik (Jason Antoon)

\u200bJason Antoon

Jason Antoon as Ernie Malik

Photo: Karen Neal/CBS

Who's Ernie: NCIS Pearl's cyber intelligence specialist.

Where you've seen Jason: Most recently as the pill-popping Dr. Ken on the hit dramedy Claws. He made his big-screen debut in Steven Spielberg's Minority Report and appeared in Two Weeks Notice and Music & Lyrics. Antoon's small-screen credits include Fresh Off the Boat, Showtime's Shameless, The CW's iZombie, Modern Family, and Sex and the City. Theatergoers might recognize him for his Drama Desk–nominated role in the Broadway's Contact, which took home the 2000 Tony Award for Best Musical.

Tori Anderson (Kate Whistler)

\u200bTori Anderson

Tori Anderson as Kate Whistler

Photo: Karen Neal/CBS

Who's Kate: A special agent from the Defense Intelligence Agency who butts heads (and locks lips) with Lucy Tara.

Where you've seen Tori: Best known from her starring role in The CW's No Tomorrow, the Canadian native also appeared in TV's Blindspot, Killjoys, The CW's L.A. Complex, and Nickelodeon's The Other Kingdom.

Kai Holman (Alex Tarrant)

Alex Tarrant

Alex Tarrant as Kai Holman

Photo: Karen Neal/CBS

Who's Kai: The Hawaiian native (and former Marine) returns home to care for his dad and becomes a field agent assigned to NCIS Pearl.

Where you've seen Alex: The Auckland native has graced the New Zealand and international stage and screen in series such as When We Go to War, Tatau, and Filthy Rich—all for the BBC—and 800 Words and Seachange in Australia. He also appeared in the 2021 sci-fi film Night Raiders, exec-produced by Taika Waititi. Keep an eye out for Tarrant in the upcoming Amazon Lord of the Rings series.

NCIS: Hawai'i airs on Mondays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CBS and streams on Paramount+.

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The Who's Pete Townshend performing live on stage.

Photo: Graham Wiltshire/Redferns/Getty Images.

By Nate Millado

When CSI creator Anthony E. Zuiker was searching for a theme song, CBS execs wanted a "rock anthem." So they called the legendary band The Who and showed them the main title sequence scored to "Who Are You," Zuiker revealed in an interview with the Television Academy Foundation. "[Pete] Townshend and [Roger] Daltrey liked it, signed off on it, and it became part of our lore," Zuiker recalls. "And once we did Miami and NY, it was a no-brainer to keep spinning off and doing the same songs from the same band."

CSI: Vegas comes full circle when it premieres Oct. 6 on CBS. Not only are OG cast members Gil Grissom (William Petersen) and Sara Sidle (Jorja Fox) returning, but so is the original theme song. (Joy Oladokun covers the iconic "Who Are You.) A look back at every CSI theme song by The Who!

Watch CSI: Vegas on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.

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CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Theme — "Who Are You"

CSI: Miami Theme — "Won't Get Fooled Again"

CSI: NY Theme — "Baba O'Riley"

CSI: Cyber Theme — "I Can See For Miles"

CSI: Vegas Theme — "Who Are You" (Cover)

Watch CSI: Vegas on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.

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The resident ghosts of the show Ghosts watch the human occupants carry on blissfully unaware.

Photo credit: Cliff Lipson/CBS

By David Hochman

Meet the spirited supporting cast of CBS's new comedy Ghosts. When Samantha (Rose McIver) and Jay (Utkarsh Ambudkar) decide to turn a rambling old country estate into a B&B, the home's many otherworldly residents set out to sabotage their plans. Let the haunting begin!

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Catch the double episode series premiere of Ghosts on Thursday, Oct. 7, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CBS and streaming on Paramount+.

Román Zaragoza

Ghosts actor Rom\u00e1n Zaragoza poses in his character's Native American outfit.

Photo credit: Cliff Lipson/CBS

Stumptown actor Zaragoza plays Sasappis, a snarky Native American who mostly rolls his eyes at his fellow specters. "We consider him the Chandler of the group," says executive producer Joe Wiseman. "He's got this brilliant, biting sarcasm, and he's very over this whole ghost thing."

Rebecca Wisocky

Ghosts actor Rebecca Wisocky poses in her character's 1800's formal dress.

Photo credit: Cliff Lipson/CBS

She plays 1880s society woman Hetty, who was once married to a robber baron. Known for her socialite role on the Lifetime series Devious Maids, "Rebecca walked in as her Ghosts character," Wiseman says. "But while it looks like that's who she is, it's actually a ton of preparation on her part."

Brandon Scott Jones

Ghost's actor Brandon Scott Jones poses in his frilly 18th century militiaman outfit.

Photo credit: Cliff Lipson/CBS

Already an afterlife veteran from The Good Place, Jones once again roams the other world, this time as pompous Isaac, a 1700s militiaman who died of dysentery. Says Wiseman: "If you've seen Brandon's monologue in the Rebel Wilson movie Isn't It Romantic, you'll understand why we cast him. He's a brilliant comedian who can play serious, too."

Sheila Carrasco

Ghosts actor Sheila Carrasco poses as her 1960's character in her hippie finery.

Photo credit: Cliff Lipson/CBS

As a 1960s love child who died after she wandered onto the property from a nearby music festival, Flower brings a patchouli-scented spirit to the mix. Comedian Carrasco "has a real connection to the part," says Wiseman. "The more we learn about Flower, the more Sheila brings things from her personal life to make it hilarious."

Asher Grodman

Ghosts actor Asher Grodman poses as an 80's wall street yuppie missing his pants.

Photo credit: Cliff Lipson/CBS

The Chicago Med alum plays Trevor, a 1990s investment broker whose high-flying trading habits were matched only by his love for partying with B-list celebrities. "Trevor stands out immediately as the guy not wearing pants," Port says. "Asher claims he's not like his character, but his acting is so good, it's hard to tell."

Danielle Pinnock

Ghosts actor Danielle Pinnock poses as her 1920's cabaret singer character.

Photo credit: Cliff Lipson/CBS

Best known as Sheldon's math teacher on Young Sheldon, Pinnock here plays Alberta, a 1920s cabaret singer with a larger-than-afterlife personality. "She's kind of the den mother of the group of ghosts," says Port. "Alberta has big diva energy, but Danielle couldn't be further from that in real life."

Devan Chandler Long

Ghosts actor Devan Chandler Long poses as his viking character.

Photo credit: Cliff Lipson/CBS

At nearly 6-foot-5, it's hard to miss the former Doom Patrol star, who portrays the hulking Viking and neat freak Thorfinn. "What's funny is that Devan's brother is actually the tall one in the family," says Port. "At home they call Devan 'Tiny.'"

Richie Moriarty

Ghosts actor Richie Moriarty poses as his Scout Leader with an arrow through his neck character.

Photo credit: Cliff Lipson/CBS

The actor from What We Do in the Shadows and The Tick portrays Reagan-era scout troop leader Pete, the self-appointed activities director around the house. "Pete's the unfortunate one who spends eternity with an arrow stuck through his neck," says executive producer Joe Port, "but let's just say Richie is killer funny in spite of those challenges."

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Catch the double episode series premiere of Ghosts on Thursday, Oct. 7, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CBS and streaming on Paramount+.

The cast of the CBS pilot GHOSTS.

Photo: Cliff Lipson/CBS

By David Hochman.

They say change can be scary. A new town, an unfamiliar house, a bunch of deceased former residents who want you out of there pronto. That's the spirit of Ghosts, a new CBS comedy—yes, comedy—about a cute young couple who inherit a rundown 300-year-old country estate (thanks, Great Aunt Sophie) along with a tight-knit group of dearly departed souls from time periods who hilariously haunt the place.

You might think a free mansion with nine bedrooms on 10 acres in the picturesque Hudson Valley would be a welcome windfall for struggling freelance journalist Samantha (played by Rose McIver from The CW's supernatural comedy iZombie) and her fast-talking chef husband, Jay (comedian and rapper Utkarsh Ambudkar from The Mindy Project and Pitch Perfect). And it is—for a minute. One look at her gorgeous family hand-me-down and all Sam can think is, "Dude, this could be the best bed and breakfast." Unfortunately, it's the property's prior inhabitants—including a cod-obsessed Viking, a feisty Prohibition-era lounge singer, a trippy '60s hippie, and an entitled '80s Wall Street bro—who have reservations. The ghosts (who only Sam can see) don't want new owners and definitely don't want beds full of space-hogging overnighters, and so the kooky spooking begins. A lightbulb flickers mysteriously here, a vase crashes to parquet floors there—all to frighten Sam and Jay back to the big city. A spectral Yelp reviewer might sum up the guest experience in a single word: Boo!

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Catch the double episode series premiere of Ghosts on Thursday, Oct. 7, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CBS and streaming on Paramount+.

Adapted from the hit BBC One series of the same name, Ghosts is a sitcom in the tradition of TV classics like The Addams Family, The Munsters, and, more recently, What We Do in the Shadows. The wise cracking is spine chilling without giving actual shivers. The real scares happened camera shortly after the pilot got picked up by CBS in February 2020. "We got the go-ahead just as the pandemic set in, and there was worry, along with everything else, that we'd lose momentum," says Joe Wiseman, who is writing and executive producing the series with Joe Port, his creative partner from New Girl and other comedies. "But it's such an inventive idea and has so much heart, we kept the faith that it would work out."

Rose McIver and Utkarsh Ambudkar hug each other in a promotional image from the CBS show Ghosts.

Rose McIver and Utkarsh Ambudkar (right) play a couple who take on a hilariously haunted house.

Photo: Cliff Lipson/CBS

After months of precautionary delays, Ghosts shot its pilot episode last December in Los Angeles under tight COVID-19 protocols, and the cast and crew couldn't help noticing eerie parallels between the comedy and the lockdown life everyone had been living. As Port says: "It was suddenly very relatable to have people trapped together in a house and forever unable to escape each other. We imagine viewers will relate, and hopefully in a humorous way."

It helps to have a dead-funny cast that includes Danielle Pinnock from Young Sheldon as a 1920s chanteuse, Brandon Scott Jones from The Good Place as a conflicted Revolutionary War–era militiaman, and Richie Moriarty (What We Do in the Shadows) as a 1980s scout leader who clearly got the bum end of an archery lesson: There's an arrow through his neck. Ghosts' two leads are the stand-ins for the rest of us—that is, if the rest of us were standing in an abode full of freaky
ghouls. Here's what McIver and Ambudkar say about seeing dead people in prime time.

Rose McIver and Utkarsh Ambudkar look into each other's eyes as the resident ghosts look on.

"On the back of this insane year, we've all learned we have to tolerate other people's living habits." –Rose McIver

Photo credit: Cliff Lipson/CBS

Let's start with the obvious. Do you believe in ghosts?

McIver: I haven't seen any Victorian children sitting at the foot of my bed, if that's what you mean. But I've heard enough stories to wonder about, you know, quantum entanglement and all that.

Ambudkar: Quantumwhat now?

McIver: It's something to do with two entangled particles interacting remotely, but that's all I know. Look, you're gonna have to ask Einstein. He called it spooky science, and quantum entanglement is the technical term for it.

Ambudkar: Nobody told me there would be a quiz. I'll just say I don't believe in ghosts as malevolent spirits or lost souls. If anything, I believe in angels looking out for us, which means all my ghosts are good.

McIver: Are you saying ghosts are angels that just haven't been marketed as well?

Ambudkar: Yes, kinda like squirrels versus hamsters. You only want one of them living inside your house, right?

McIver: Hmm.

Ambudkar: OK, so it's a working theory.

Ghosts is based on a popular British series of the same name. What are the challenges and advantages of that?

McIver: Well, there's a reason the BBC version is an absolute hit. It's just so good! I watched the first couple episodes and completely love it, and there's a bit of a built-in fan base. But I don't plan on watching any more till we finish the season so that we can make it our own without feeling in the shadows of these giants.

Ambudkar: I watched maybe five minutes of the original and was laughing and found it super fresh and charming. That was enough for me to want to join the Ghosts family and then, yeah, do our own thing.

What excites you most about the CBS version?

Ambudkar: I love that it's funny without being mean. In that way it's got touches of The Good Place, which is so well written and also charming. It's also a family comedy like Modern Family, where you have this very diverse cast exploring their stories together.

McIver: It's topical, too. On the back of this insane year, we've all learned we have to tolerate other people's living habits and how we need to cooperate to cohabitate. To explore that with humor might actually help us laugh a little at what we've all just experienced in quarantine.

Ambudkar: I also appreciate that I get to play a lead role where the ethnicity of the character doesn't really matter. It's so great to see that happening more. For me that slowly began with [the 2019 comedy film] Brittany Runs a Marathon. But to have this situation on TV every week, it feels really fortunate and meaningful.

Did you two know each other before Ghosts?

McIver: This is one of my favorite stories to tell. Utkarsh's wife [costumer Naomi Campbell, no relation to the
supermodel] and I are good friends. She's a fellow Kiwi and we worked together in New Zealand. Right after
I was cast for Ghosts, I was invited to go to their baby shower, and I was like, "Hey, I know who that guy is! He's that
rapper—UTK the INC—who rapped at the Oscars. He's awesome." [The Academy recruited Ambudkar to perform a rhythmic recap of the show with Questlove two-thirds of the way through the broadcast of the awards in February 2020.] Then I thought, he'd be so great as Jay in the show, so I told the producers, who were, like, Yeah, yeah, we
know. We really want him.

How hard was building cast chemistry during COVID? Group bonding is tricky with masks on, no?

Ambudkar: It's interesting. When COVID shut us down, we started this group text chain with the cast and really got to know each other. We were joking all the time and sharing links to things. By the time we finally met, it was like relaxing into a family. We were all genuinely rooting for each other to succeed. We weren't unknown actors. We were just people playing people playing ghosts.

McIver: Your character's not a ghost. Have you not read the script?

Ambudkar: Allow me to rephrase: We're people playing people playing with people playing ghosts.

McIver: Ah, spoken like a true freestyle rapper.

Ambudkar: I'm paid by the word, just so you know. That line will cost you $6.

Rose McIver and Utkarsh Ambudkar hold hands strolling through a park in a promotional image from the CBS show Ghosts.

"I love that Ghosts is funny without being mean. I also appreciate that I get to play a lead role where the ethnicity of the character doesn't really matter. It's so great to see that happening more." -Utkarsh Ambudkar

Photo credit: Cliff Lipson/CBS

Let's talk about the ghosts of your past, Rose. How did playing Tinker Bell on Once Upon a Time prepare you for this role?

McIver: Tinker Bell readied me appropriately for wearing a harness for all the flying sequences, which prepped me for the inevitable stunts we will be discovering in Ghosts. No spoilers for those who haven't seen the pilot, but you might be in for a bit of a treat there if you're a fan of my aerial work.

The ghosts on the show are consigned to eternity in the outfits they were wearing when they met their demise. Is that a sticky subject around the set?

Ambudkar: They actually do change their clothes in the time travel episodes.

McIver: Utkarsh, we talked about this. No spoilers!

Ambudkar: I mean, when the aliens come … and, uh, Brad Pitt makes an
awesome cameo.

McIver: Is that public yet?

Ambudkar: It is now, Rose.

McIver: Honestly, I can't wait for cosplay fans to start dressing like these characters, although I don't know who'd want
to get stuck dressing as boring old Sam and Jay, right Utkarsh?

Ambudkar: Speak for yourself! I'd like to think there are plenty of young South Asian men out there who would kill to
play Jay during Comic Con. Rockin' the flannel and khaki pants. Who wouldn't want to dress up as us?

Last question: If you could be visited by any ghost from Hollywood's past, who would that ghost be and why?

McIver: I'll go with a great old school writer-director—Billy Wilder. I just think he'd have an incredible intellect, and I imagine he'd be a masterful storyteller. I absolutely love his films.

Ambudkar: I'd probably make it a ghost party: Robin Williams, Charlie Chaplin, maybe Buster Keaton. The technical genius of the physical comedy that they pulled was so phenomenal, and I'd love to learn as much as possible from them. And maybe Bruce Lee, too. He could protect me if it turns out I'm wrong about ghosts not being malevolent spirits.

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Catch the double episode series premiere of Ghosts on Thursday, Oct. 7, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CBS and streaming on Paramount+.

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