‘NCIS’ Showrunner Says Crossovers Aren’t ‘Impossible’ After ‘Hawai’i’ Cancellation

The CBS franchise’s ‘90s-set “Origins” and international spin-off “Sydney” make it trickier for the shows to blend next season

Wilmer Valderrama in "NCIS," Vanessa Lachey in "NCIS: Hawai'i" and Austin Stowell in "NCIS: Origins." (CBS)

“NCIS” co-showrunner Steven D. Binder was disappointed by the cancellation of the franchise’s “Hawai’i” spin-off, but that doesn’t mean crossovers are out of the question going forward.

Fans of the longrunning CBS shows were surprised after the network pulled the plug on its island-set iteration starring Vanessa Lachey. With “NCIS: Los Angeles” ending its run in 2023, the flagship series’ options for potential crossover episodes might get trickier now that its last stateside, present-day sibling show is off the air. But Binder said “there are ways” for the “NCIS” universe to gather shows moving forward, even with the upcoming new 1990s-set “Origins” premiering this fall and the international sibling “NCIS: Sydney,” returning to CBS in spring 2025.

“One of the difficulties of crossovers is getting your actor to the location, even ‘Hawai’i’ was really difficult for us because then that means they’re not in our show,” Binder told TheWrap in a recent interview. “‘Sydney’ is wonderful. It wouldn’t be much more logistically difficult for us getting people there, not necessarily impossible. It’s a question of time, effort and resources.”

“Certainly we could have some of their people on our side much more easily, just because they have a shorter episode order,” he added.

As for the upcoming “NCIS: Origins,” starring Austin Stowell as a young Leroy Jethro Gibbs and narrated by original Gibbs actor Mark Harmon, Binder said coming up with a crossover idea wouldn’t be much different than past installments featuring younger versions of characters in various time periods.

“You’re not going to see Torres (Wilmer Valderrama) and Knight (Katrina Law) talking to young Gibbs, but then again I wrote an episode that had a young Ducky (David McCallum) talking to his present-day self in an autopsy in his head … so there’s ways to be inventive,” Binder noted.

Reflecting on the abrupt conclusion of “Hawai’i,” which ended its third and now final season with a cliffhanger, Binder said the cancellation was “personally tough for me because I have a lot of close friends who work on the show.”

“Their devastation is my devastation,” Binder said. “I think it was a victim of a perfect storm of a changing industry … I don’t think it would have been canceled any other season. It didn’t go down because it was unsuccessful, it was a must-watch show and people liked it. It got a lot of numbers.”

Earlier this month, CBS Entertainment president Amy Reisenbach credited overall performance and financials for the end of “NCIS: Hawai’i” — along with fellow surprise canceled shows “CSI: Las Vegas” and “So Help Me Todd.”

All episodes of the “NCIS” franchise are available to stream on Paramount+.


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