Jason Antoon & Seana Kofoed React to Surprise Cancellation of 'NCIS: Hawaii'

Jason Antoon, Seana Kofoed

NCIS: Hawai'i is wrapping up its third season with a two-part season finale, which is turning out to also be its series finale, which is sad news in and of itself, but the sadder news is there wasn’t enough advance notice to the writers to wrap up the storyline, so while NCIS: Hawai’i won’t end with a big cliffhanger, there will be unresolved issues.

Parade spoke to Jason Antoon, who stars as tech wizard Ernie Malik, and Seana Kofoed, who recurs as Commander Chase, and who are married in real life about the cancellation but also what we have to look forward to in the finale.

On hearing the news of the cancellation, Antoon said, “Mahalo to our amazing cast and crew. There will never be another ohana like this one. Even though we are all shocked and disappointed, I will cherish our time on the island.”

And Kofoed told Parade, “While the cast is, of course, heartbroken, because we loved playing these characters, we're incredibly grateful to our amazing showrunners, Chris [Bosack], Jan [Nash] and Matt [Silber]—and all the NCIS: Hawai'i writers—for creating this mold-breaking world within the NCIS universe—telling great, entertaining stories while representing the diverse and wonderful world in which we live.”

The finale was set up in last week’s episode when Sam Hanna (LL COOL J) asked Ernie if he would help out the Elite team by decrypting a computer. Of course, Ernie could but in so doing, he learned that the computer had a virus, which didn’t affect his computer, but would have given the bioterrorists access to the computer system of the Elite team, which tried to decrypt it before him, so now the bad guys have access to the Elite team’s plans.

Related: Alex Tarrant on NCIS: Hawai'i's New Bromance Between Sam Hanna and Kai Holman

Monday night’s “Spill the Tea” episode picks up the story with the murder of a high-value bioweapons expert in a secure facility, necessitating the NCIS Elite team to join forces to track down the killer and discover an even deadlier threat.

“Once we discover what NCIS Elite is and what they’re up to and why Sam Hanna is in Hawaii, Ernie decides to help him with that and to do some not illegal but stretches the boundaries of his job for what Ernie has to do on his computer and helping that way," Antoon said.

Seana Kofoed, Noah Mills<p>Courtesy: CBS</p>
Seana Kofoed, Noah Mills

Courtesy: CBS

So, the Elite team and Jane Tennant’s (Vanessa Lachey) NCIS team come together for the mission.

“There is some splintering of the teams to hit different things, there’s some travel,” Kofoed adds. “Chase is pulled in because she’s a bioweapons expert from her former days. I’m in the fray of things. But you have the two arms of the team working in this foreign territory.”

During our Zoom chat, Antoon and Kofoed also talked about how they came to be on the same series, how they initially met, and their plans post-NCIS: Hawai’i, which include Taylor Swift.

What’s the story behind you both being on the same series?

Jason Antoon: The last show that I did, which was Claws on TNT, we came home after that show was finished. I was just auditioning for shows and NCIS: Hawai’i came up. I unconventionally put myself on tape for this character using multiple cameras, which you don’t usually do when you put yourself on tape, because Ernie goes from one camera to the other, so I’m like, “I’m going to have fun, I don’t care.” That’s how I got cast. Then Seana came to Hawaii with our kids just visiting and a role came up.

Related: Vanessa Lachey and LL COOL J Reveal the Unpredictable Stories and Fun Ride for NCIS: Hawaii

Seana Kofoed: It was the standard audition situation where you tape and then they give you notes and you tape again. It was a good fit, though I will say she was originally a paratrooper, and I was incredibly excited to be a paratrooper. Then the great thing is I get the role and then I get the script where we first meet Chase and she’s an Earth mama by way of Berkeley. I was like, “Come on, I could have jumped out of planes, I even have my paratrooper book.” But they lean into who they have, which I think they do with the regulars, too. They lean into who the actual actors are, which ends up being a great fit.

It’s a gift that is very rare for actors in general to both be working and both be working on location. So, we’re cognizant of that. Our showrunners are amazing, Chris, Jan and Matt. They’re all family people. I think they also are supportive of keeping families happy and people happy.

Jason Antoon<p>Courtesy: CBS</p>
Jason Antoon

Courtesy: CBS

Antoon: Even so, you have to earn these roles. I have friends who audition and they’re like, “Hey, I’m auditioning for the show.” I’m like, “I’ll say that you’re a nice guy, but you’ve still got to get the role.” It’s not easy, you earn that.

Did you meet through work? You both have theater backgrounds and were on Broadway. Is that how you met?

Kofoed: It is. It was during the last writer’s strike in 2007-2008. I was doing Men in Trees.

Antoon: When the strike happened, she came to New York to do a play. I was living in New York, and I was in that play, as well. That’s how we met doing this play up at the Paul Newman-Joanne Woodward theater in Westport, the Westport Country Playhouse. That’s how we met.

Which makes it easy for you to work together now.

Kofoed: Because we’re used to it. Exactly. And then the theater setting is really conducive to getting to know someone, because it’s a lot of hours.

Jason, are you anything like Ernie? Do you have any tech knowledge at all?

Antoon: I do, actually. I help my mother a lot.

Kofoed: He helps the entire family. I just hand him laptops.

Antoon: And my entire family, my son’s like, “My PC is crashing,” when he’s playing Fortnite. Also, we live right out on this beach access and a lot of cars get broken into when they know that it’s a rental car. We had cameras in this house onto the beach access. We saw the guys do it, so I compiled all the footage together and called HPD and helped them with it. They didn’t know who I was or what I was doing.

I did it exactly like what Ernie would do. They never came back to me and said, “Hey, we caught the guys.” I’m pretty tech savvy. I feel like, yeah, Ernie’s a part of me in that he’s very earnest and optimistic and smart.

Kofoed: And he doesn’t like loose ends; Jason doesn’t like loose ends.

Related: NCIS: Hawaii Reveals Secrets From Lucy's Past and Kai's Present

And, Seana, you’re not a medical doctor, so how do you relate to Chase?

Kofoed: I think I share her interest in humanity and people. And I like the intrigue. She loves the intrigue of what each little scar or nick or injury says about a person. She’s big on what the biology can say about a person’s history. I am fascinated by people’s history and lives and the nuances of who they are. I think she is, too. I think I’m a generally loving person and I love that she’s really loving. She just leads with warmth.

Antoon: The cast is very much like their characters. When they say cut, we joke around and laugh and there’s obviously serious stuff that we’re talking about in the show when we’re investigating part of the procedural aspect of the show. But I think being a part of this whole cast and crew, it really is like a tight family of good people.

And that’s because of the showrunners. The showrunners are very family oriented. They have a no a--holes policy and you can tell that when you’re on set. It’s so refreshing to not have a No. 1 who separates themselves. I’m not saying in every case, but on the average you do. This one with Vanessa…

Kofoed: She’s an amazing No. 1.

Antoon: She’s just so funny and so goofy, but also so grounded.

Kofoed: And warm.

Antoon: And that’s like her character. It really was cast very well and we’re proud and it’s awesome to be on a show with a female person of color, the first female lead.

Kofoed: And a prominent lesbian couple [Lucy (Yasmine Al-Bustami) and Kate (Tori Anderson)].

Antoon: A very diverse cast and crew telling stories in Hawaii. That is what has been an amazing experience.

Seana Kofoed, Jason Antoon<p>Courtesy: Seana Kofoed</p>
Seana Kofoed, Jason Antoon

Courtesy: Seana Kofoed

Do you plan to stay in Hawaii or will you move back to the mainland?

Antoon: Oh, well, do you want to be married with us?

Kofoed: Right, just come for dinner tomorrow night, you can help us hash it out.

Antoon: You can have the conversation that we’ve been having.

Antoon: We decided to go to Scotland and England to go see Taylor Swift for our daughter. So, we’re going to see that.

Kofoed: In case it’s our last financial hurrah. [jokes] And then we’ll be back to a tiny apartment and everyone gets jobs including the children. We’ll see. We love Hawaii so much. I love how it is for our children.

The NCIS: Hawai’i two-part season/series finale begins tonight at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.

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