LeVar Burton Is Making An Unexpected Return To A Major Franchise

LeVar Burton returned to a major franchise this week and it's somewhat unexpected. The beloved actor has been pretty busy of late.

By Charlene Badasie | Published

levar burton

LeVar Burton is one of America’s most multi-talented personalities. From acting to hosting to directing – he can pretty much do it all. While he’s best known for his work on Star Trek, he’s also helmed various popular series over the years. And, this weekend, the entertainer returned to the director’s chair for an episode of NCIS: Hawai’i which premiered right after the AFC Divisional Playoff Game.

Although the series is only on its first season, this isn’t the entertainer’s first rodeo with the NCIS franchise. Before directing Sunday night’s installment of NCIS: Hawai’i, LeVar Burton directed 10 episodes of NCIS: New Orleans. He also appeared as a guest star in the series. Now that he’s back behind the camera for the newest version of NCIS, the Roots star spoke to TV Insider about the experience, saying it was cool to have his episode broadcast right after the game.

“Isn’t that cool? I love that,” the Spies Part 1 director told the publication. “Because I’m gonna be watching the game so I don’t have to do anything. I don’t even have to change the channel. We’ll just roll right into it,” LeVar Burton added about the show’s special time slot. The next episode of NCIS: Hawai’i airs in the drama’s usual time slot on CBS – Monday at 10/9c.

Now that LeVar Burton has gotten a feel for the Vanessa Lachey-led spinoff as a viewer, he says he loves the show! Speaking candidly about the franchise he said the cast is awesome and Vanessa is terrific. “It’s great to see a woman heading up one of these shows in this franchise,” he said. “And it’s in Hawai’i. What’s not the like?”

While LeVar Burton is a seasoned professional, working with a relatively new cast and crew on NCIS: Hawai’i came with a few challenges. According to the director, the biggest one was everyone’s anxiety “The biggest challenge was the anxiety of a new cast and a new crew,” he explained. “There’s always the first day of school feeling that we all experience.” However, Burton had all the resources he needed to make the job enjoyable and once everyone’s nerves were calm, production went off without a hitch.

LeVar Burton stepped behind the camera for a story that challenged the NCIS team. Their investigation into the mysterious death of a Navy engineer Joseph Chan, lead to Jane’s mentor and friend, Maggie Shaw, who was the last person he met with – and she’s been kidnapped! The episode also sees Hawaii Five-0‘s Beulah Koale guest star as New Zealand Intelligence Service case officer David Sola, with a lead connecting Joseph’s death to a Chinese black op secret agent.

Created by Christopher Silber, Jan Nash, and Matt Bosack, NCIS: Hawai’i premiered in September 2021 on CBS. It is the fourth series in the NCIS franchise. The series follows a fictional team of Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents who are based at the Pearl Harbor Field Office. Led by Special Agent Jane Tennant, they investigate crimes related to the military and national security.

NCIS: Hawai’i stars Vanessa Lachey, Alex Tarrant, Noah Mills, Yasmine Al-Bustami, Jason Antoon, Tori Anderson, and Kian Talan. It’s still unclear if LeVar Burton will return to direct more episodes of NCIS: Hawai’i, or even installments of NCIS or NCIS: Los Angeles. Since he had such a good time working on Sunday’s episode, it wouldn’t be surprising if he did.