Sam Puts Kai Through Rigorous Training — Alex Tarrant Explains Why (VIDEO)


“Maybe he didn’t have a good time, but I had a good time,” NCIS: Hawai’i star Alex Tarrant says of his character, Kai, in the next episode.

“Operation Red Rabbit,” airing on April 1, sees Sam (LL Cool J) recruit Kai to be his wingman—in training. As you can see in TV Insider’s exclusive sneak peek above, Sam’s taking it seriously. Kai’s … trying to recover. Also in the episode, when the fiancée of a vanished naval officer seeks the help of NCIS, the team reveals his secrets go much deeper than she suspected.

Below, Tarrant previews Kai and Sam’s dynamic and teases what’s ahead.

Talk about the training that Sam’s putting in Kai through and their dynamic, because I really do like it.

Alex Tarrant: The Devil Dash is coming up, and I believe that Kai mentions something about missing the days of the intense grueling training that they went through while they were in the Marines. And because of that, they took a little trip down memory lane. Todd’s character, Sam Hanna, can definitely keep up, but Kai’s definitely struggling this episode.

Talk about work with LL COOL J on that.

It was our first time really getting to properly work together. He’s an amazing guy, extremely professional. There’s a big reason why he’s lasted inside this industry for so long. He’s a legend in all senses, and I just feel so grateful to be working with him. I’m learning a lot from him as I go, especially about how to better hold myself as a person within this industry.

Why does Kai put himself through all this training and go along with everything Sam says—even the food?

Sam, it’s interesting. His life is in parallel with his character. A lot of us on set look up to him as an actor. And I guess Kai definitely looks up to Sam Hanna in terms of what he’s gone through with NCIS and his awesome stories that he tells, and he’s become a legend within that NCIS department. And so I think Kai’s just really wanting to impress him—and I think he’s really paying for it.


Kai is in a relationship now with Camille (Peyton List). Is that something that’s going to last? How is Kai feeling about that?

We’ll see. It’s a really interesting relationship, something that I feel like was only able to develop within the really odd circumstances of being in a war zone and being trapped together. And I guess through that—I always think about this. We meet a lot of people at our best, but sometimes the journey with someone lasts longer when we meet each other at the worst of times, and so I think that’s a really interesting thing that’s going on between those two.

How much more are we going to see of that?

I hope more.

Are we going to see her again?

So far she hasn’t been back for Season 3, but there’s always potential in later seasons, if we’re lucky enough.

I have to say something I enjoyed is the Kai and Kate (Tori Anderson) friendship we got in the premiere and Lucy’s (Yasmine Al-Bustami) reaction to that. Are we going to see more of that friendship this season?

Yeah, I hope so. There’s definitely more potential for that, for those relationships to grow. But so far, they’ve definitely kept it about business and they’re definitely sharing the relationships between how Sam Hanna relates to each and every character, and I think that’s really, really important. But hopefully along the way we get to strengthen and expand on that relationship between Kai and Whistler.

NCIS: LA‘s Daniela Ruah came in to direct an upcoming episode. Talk about working with her as a director?

Daniela’s fantastic. She’s an actor’s director. She’s been through it. It’s really amazing watching her do the action because she knows it herself. We’ve done three seasons trying to figure out what it is to arrest someone and keep an eye out on everything else that’s going on. But when I see Daniela do it and talk us through it and walk us through it, it just comes so naturally to her, and I can’t wait for that day where it becomes natural for me.

What can you preview about that episode?

We go into the forest and search for a killer who is slowly picking off members of this elite Marine team.

NCIS: Hawai’i, Mondays, 10/9c, CBS

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