‘NCIS: Hawai’i’ Reveals New Clue About Why Sam’s Really on the Island

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[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for NCIS: Hawai’i Season 3 Episode 4 “Dead on Arrival.”]

The “million-dollar question” in NCIS: Hawai’i Season 3 is simple: What is Sam Hanna doing on the island? LL COOL J has reprised his NCIS: LA role as a special guest star, and while he came to Hawai’i to help clear Jane Tennant (Vanessa Lachey) for duty in the premiere, he’s obviously not just sticking around to help out as needed. But good luck getting any answers out of him! However, Jesse (Noah Mills) does get more than anyone else has yet in the latest episode.

But that only comes after Jesse makes it very clear he wants Sam gone. He’s not impressed when Sam talks about him and Callen (Chris O’Donnell) being trapped in a submarine, full of explosives (NCIS: LA Season 6 premiere “Deep Trouble, Part 2”). Then, “so Sam Hanna’s just around now, huh,” he remarks to Jane as they walk to a crime scene. He claims it’s not a problem (though she can tell it is), but he is wondering why he’s here. So is everyone else.

After asking Ernie (Jason Antoon) for his take on Jesse, Sam later tells the agent they need to clear the air. He knows the team relies on and trusts Jesse, but that the other man doesn’t trust him. “It’s not that I don’t trust you. I don’t know you. And I don’t know your intentions,” Jesse says. “Nothing but honorable,” Sam assures him. “Yeah, I appreciate that. Still doesn’t tell me why you’re here,” Jesse points out, and for once, Sam doesn’t pretend that he’s really just there to teach a seminar.

“Well, I’m not going to tell you why I’m here because I can’t,” he reveals. “But I promise you, I’m not here to look over anyone’s shoulder, not Tennant’s, not yours, and I’ll always have your six. I hope that works.” It does for Jesse.

Thanks to Ernie digging into Sam, we do get a bit more about his current time in Hawai’i—but it just leads to more questions. Ernie didn’t break any laws (just decorum), he assures Jane after sneaking into her kitchen while everyone’s gathered in the living room. “Sam Hanna was indeed TDYed to Pearl to teach his seminar, but not from OSP. All the paperwork, scheduling and pay are coming from something called Elite,” he says. It’s unclear what that is, but, he continues, “any further details are hidden behind triple encrypted firewalls that I’d be committing espionage if I broke.” Jane’s determined to find out what’s going on.

Is that connected to something related to an open case from NCIS: Los Angeles? There have been a lot over the years, and Sam did say he was talking to Kensi (Daniela Ruah) and Deeks (Eric Christian Olsen) about a past case in the previous episode; maybe he was only lying about it being a past case. Could it be related to the mission to rescue Hetty, which was how LA ended its series finale? We have yet to hear if Sam, Callen, and the team Nell (Renee Felice Smith) assembled were successful. Is it connected to anyone from Jane’s team, and that’s why he’s working alongside them?

Also in “Dead on Arrival,” Lucy (Yasmine Al-Bustami) and Kate (Tori Anderson) are adorable undercover as newlyweds. They even play the tension of getting close while hiding in a restricted area, only without the will they/won’t they; instead, it’s “not now.” And while snooping around, they find a wedding dress, which Kate loves. Weddings are “supposed to be big and loud,” she points out. Is that not Lucy’s thing? “I knew from a young age that my parents weren’t going to give me one of those,” Lucy says. “I just figured I’d never get married, so why dream?” Kate’s mother, however, has been planning her wedding since she was 17. And wedding talk of course has us wondering if a proposal could be in Kacy’s future. (Either then or at the wedding, if there is one, we need Kate to sing again.)

And in a sweet moment that makes us miss NCIS‘ Ducky and the late David McCallum even more, Jesse finds Chase (Seana Kofoed) talking to the murder victim. “My mentor in the coroner arts always spoke to his victims. He said it was a reminder that while they may be dead, they are in fact always with us,” she explains.

So why do you think Sam’s in Hawai’i? Let us know your theories—and burning questions about what he’s up to—in the comments below.

NCIS: Hawai’i, Mondays, 10/9c, CBS

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