‘NCIS: Hawai’i’: How an Episode About Pirates Became an Instant Fan-Favorite

by Suzanne Halliburton

NCIS: Hawai’i proved to be the most-watched show of any rookie series on any network. And you might be surprised at which episode ranked the highest with the show’s fans.

The new series, the third spinoff of OG NCIS, pulled off a couple of two-parters in its first season. We got to see the Jane Tennant (Vanessa Lachey) back story and how she found her way to NCIS: Hawai’i in Spies Parts 1 and 2. Those two hours centered around Chinese espionage. Then the season ended with two episodes devoted to the same case. Would Jane and her agents be able to solve who was trying to sabotage the relationship the United States had with Russia?

There also was an NCIS: Hawai’i crossover with NCIS. Wilmer Valderamma (Torres) and Katrina Law (Jess) flying to Honolulu to help solve a cold case. And yes, Torres and Tennant probably had a thing back in the day. And throughout the season, there were Lucy romance scenes, with a whole will she/won’t she with Whistler.

But if you check IMDB.com, users rated “Pirates,” which was broadcast on March 7, as the top episode of the season. The hour scored a 7.8 grade on a 1 to 10 scale. Fans probably liked seeing Jesse (Noah Mills) as a Girl Dad, but one who used all his survivor skills to save himself, his daughter, and several of her friends.

The Episode

Here’s the plot summary: “As Jesse enjoys a day sailing with his daughter, Gracie (Chloe Csengery), pirates suddenly seize their yacht, take all the passengers hostage, and attack Jesse, leaving it up to his team to quickly locate and rescue his daughter.”

To open Pirates, Jesse and Gracie decided to spend a day learning how to sail. But that was soon interrupted when the group was faked out by some real-life pirates.

Pirates seize this boat on an episode of NCIS: Hawai’i. (Karen Neal/CBS)

Jesse knew he couldn’t secretly make a call to Jane. So he dialed her number, put the phone on speaker and placed it where the agents back at the office could hear what was being said.

One IMDB user wrote: “Love, love, love the episode! Felt like it was the perfect balance of high tension, but also bits of humor which served to make the action-filled bits that much better. I always love a good “one person in danger” plot specifically to see their loved ones worried and showing how much they care, and NCIS HI delivered beautifully: we got to see their tension and their stress and their love for Jesse, while still advancing the plot and not losing their heads. And to top it all off, Noah Mills was AWESOME in this – total bad*ss, taking names! Great episode!”

Soon, Kai and Lucy are on a boat trying to find their friend.

Karen Neal/CBS ©2022

So what were the pirates really after? Why would they want to kidnap a bunch of kids taking a group sailing lesson? It turns out that one of the victims is the grandson of a powerful man in Venezuela. His parents fled the country to escape the situation. But the granddad wanted to see his grandson. He hired kidnappers — the pirates — to find the kid. But Jesse thwarted the scheme.

NCIS: Hawai’i returns for season two sometime in September. Stick with Outsider for news and details about all your favorite scenes and characters.