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Yasmine Al-Bustami Previews ‘Messy’ NCIS: Hawai’i Drama Ahead, Reflects on The Chosen‘s Ascension

When CBS’ NCIS: Hawai’i resumes its third season this Monday at 10/9c, the “honeymoon” is over for Special Agent Lucy Tara.

Having gone undercover as “newlyweds” with partner Kate Whistler ahead of the island drama’s three-week break, Lucy finds herself very much in the thick of things when her assignment to protect a visiting Russian VIP takes all kinds of turns.

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TVLine spoke with Yasmine Al-Bustami about what this season’s fifth episode (of 10) will reveal about Lucy and what sort of punches the eventual season finale will pack. Plus, we get the actress’ thoughts on the Jesus drama The Chosen Season 4 lighting up silver screens.

TVLINE | What is Special Agent Lucy Tara up to this week?
Oh, she always gets herself into some trouble, which I feel like she likes — though this time she wasn’t even trying to get into trouble, I will say! She’s detailing this Russian lady who is visiting the island, and she does not want to be on the mission because, on surface-level, it’s just boring. Like, she would rather be doing other things. This lady [Tatiana] would be considered Russian “royalty,” in a way, but she’s very controversial, so when she gets onto the island you see that she does not have fans. She’s met with resistance, and Lucy gets into some trouble with her.

TVLINE | Lucy gets to express some opinions about this lady she’s protecting along the way, which I thought was quite enjoyable.
So many opinions. She does not hold back and says it to her face. She definitely lets her know that she is also not a fan.

TVLINE | As Lucy and Tatiana interact, we get a bit more information about Lucy’s family back home. Did you appreciate that aspect of the episode?
I loved it. I don’t know if Lucy appreciated it [Laughs], but for me, personally, I love anytime we learn about Lucy’s background and family history because she tries really hard to keep it quiet. She doesn’t really share much or open up too much, even to the people closest to her, unless someone happens to find out something if they do some digging. It’s not like Lucy is willingly sharing this information, so she is taken aback when this lady that she is protecting, Tatiana, all of a sudden is throwing at Lucy every little, small detail about Lucy’s family.

TVLINE | “You did a background check on me?!”
How crazy, right?! The last time someone did a background check on Lucy it was Noah [Mills]’s character Jesse, when he found out that she came from money. Lucy isn’t willingly sharing this information, so people have to find out more about her through background checks. [Laughs]

TVLINE | Any “firsts” for you as an actress in this particular episode?
Driving in a Humvee! That was a blast. I really tried to be in there when… there’s a stunt that happens… but they said no. But we took it out into the jungle and were driving up on cliffs and everything.

There’s also a fight in the jungle. We’ve done fights before, but I’ve never done it on this kind of a terrain, where it was rainy and muddy and messy. For me, that’s more fun when it’s not a clean fight. I like it to be a little dirty.

And lastly — and I don’t know if this is giving anything away — but [the scene where] paint was involved. I’ve never had that happen to me, so that was cool.

TVLINE | What can you tease about anything else going on in the episode, regarding Kai and/or NCIS Elite?
Oh, yes! We find out a bit more about NCIS Elite. Obviously, Sam (played by LL Cool J) has been a part of the team and some of us are still trying to figure out what he’s doing on the island, why he’s here, what his whole role is.

TVLINE | Not that we don’t love having him and his $200 Henleys around.
[Laughs] Some people have a bit more of a problem with it than Lucy does. Lucy couldn’t care less, she’s like whatever, it’s fine, he’s not bothering me. And then with Kai (Alex Tarrant)…

TVLINE | The new promo appears to reveal his mystery Canadian (guest star Peyton List)!
Finally. I know. We get to find out if she exists, and what the dynamic is, what the relationship is. That was fun. I loved that, too.

NCIS Hawaii Kacy Newlyweds Undercover
NCIS Hawaii Kacy Newlyweds Undercover

TVLINE | Were there any outtakes from the “newlyweds” episode, any hijinks that you and Tori [Anderson] got up to that didn’t make it on-camera?
I feel like that’s always the case. It’s so funny you ask, because me and Alex, who plays Kai, were talking about that just the other day, saying how we would love to see bloopers because we just did something that was so silly and yet we had to look all cool and everything. We were like, “If people only saw!”

One thing [from the “newlyweds” episode] that I am thinking of specifically…. We had a bunch of outdoor scenes, me and Tors, and usually if we’re outdoors we have our hair up because we’re on a mission or something, but our hair was down and so the wind was all over the place, blowing everything. So having to deal with that became a funny thing.

TVLINE | This week there’s a reference to Lucy and Kate going home to cuddle and watch “reality-TV.” What shows do you think they cue up?
Love Is Blind. I feel like I could throw that out there….

TVLINE | They probably adore the female co-host.
Yes, they might think that she is like a doppelgänger of their boss (played of course by Vanessa Lachey). I don’t know if they’re Bachelorette fans — I doubt that — but definitely Ultimatum [Marry or Move On]. All the Lachey shows.

Yasmine Al-Bustami as Ramah in ‘The Chosen’
Yasmine Al-Bustami as Ramah in ‘The Chosen’

TVLINE | Switching topics to The Chosen: Did you feel like that show “blew up” a bit once it started airing on The CW? Were you feeling some extra love, some extra attention?
I mean, I was already feeling it beforehand, because the fans of that show are so loving and so warm. It was already an outpouring of love. So, I feel like there was more of that support than anything. The CW allowed the show to get more eyes on it, which opened it up to a broader audience, which I thought was really cool because that creates more types of conversations. They are talking about it not as just a religious show but as a good show, and that was a different kind of conversation to have.

TVLINE | When it started on The CW, I gave the people at my church a heads-up and now about a half-dozen of them are hooked. Every week at coffee hour, it’s like the first topic.
Oh man, that’s so cool!

TVLINE | What’s been your biggest takeaway from your experience on The Chosen?
Oh my gosh, it’s such a huge experience for me, especially since it’s a different kind of production than NCIS — that alone is really cool. Like, it’s just so indie and on-the-ground and in-the-trenches. I feel like I’ve grown up with it and to see how its grown and what its made of itself, and along with the people, a lot of the people are still the same… It’s just so cool to be part of something like that from the very beginning and not even be thinking, “Oh, hey guys, [when filming] Season 3, beginning of 4, we’re going to start airing on The CW.” Had no idea. Or that we’re going to air Season 4 in theaters. That was just not on anyone’s radar at all. Instead in the very beginning it was like, “Oh, we have this app. You can watch it on the app.”

TVLINE | And you’re on the movie poster. I was excited when I saw your little head there.
Oh, cool, yay! It’s just, like, right there.

TVLINE | What are you hearing about the NCIS: Hawai’i finale? What’s the gossip?
Ohhhhhh, there’s so much gossip. It’s going to be a two-parter — I love those for sure, just selfishly — and today [Thursday] is our first day filming the last episode. So, there’s a lot of action, there is death….

TVLINE | I just hope nobody gets shot in the forehead like Charlie 1.
I know. It was so gruesome. Oh my gosh, we love Linc [Hand]. If there was a way to bring him back….

Want scoop on NCIS: Hawai’i, or for any other TV show ? Email InsideLine@tvline.com, and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line!

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