‘NCIS’ & ‘Hawai’i’ Crossover Recap: Who’s the Raven? Plus Relationship Updates

Wilmer Valderrama as Special Agent Nicholas “Nick” Torres and Vanessa Lachey as Jane Tennant in NCIS Hawai'i
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[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for the NCIS Season 20 premiere “A Family Matter” and the NCIS: Hawai’i Season 2 premiere “Prisoners’ Dilemma.”]

NCIS and NCIS: Hawai’i kick off their seasons with a crossover that sees both teams working together to take down the Raven, the Big Bad who nearly killed Palmer (Brian Dietzen) and Kasie (Diona Reasonover) and framed Parker (Gary Cole) for murder. But who is the Raven? And is the threat over by the end of the event? Plus, is there a new romance across the two shows? Read on for the highlights.

Is Vivian Working for/the Raven?

No. While Parker’s ex-wife Vivian (Teri Polo) may have been acting suspiciously at the end of the Season 19 premiere, it turns out that text was not to the Raven but to Sweeney (Erik Passoja), pretending she’d deliver him Parker but instead sending him on a wild goose chase. Instead, she brings in Fornell (Joe Spano) to help (and piss off Sweeney). So why didn’t she tell Parker? Back in the day, if there was even the hint of a betrayal from someone, it would set him off, she recalls.

Who Is the Raven?

While giving Sweeney the run-around, the team continues to work the Raven case and figures out why Parker has been targeted: to ruin his reputation. Who’s benefiting? Criminals using Parker’s fugitive status to try to get out of prison. Among them: computer hacker Herman Maxwell (Michael Weston). The off-shore account in Parker’s name was originally created in Moscow — and Maxwell worked for a Russian gangster whose name in Russian is Raven and got off on creating chaos using nerve gases. It sounds like he’s their guy and is targeting Parker to get to Maxwell.

The hacker seems terrified that the Raven will put him back to work, and the team quickly realizes they can use that to their advantage: Maxwell will be the bait, when they move him to a safe house. But then things go very wrong. The guy they thought was the Raven has been dead for years. Comms fail. Sweeney shows up in the middle of everything. Two vans with shooters box them in. Maxwell is grabbed. Vivian is shot. And Maxwell smiles at Parker before he’s driven away.

Sean Murray as Special Agent Timothy McGee in NCIS

Robert Voets/CBS

Those shooters were part of the Unkindness, the Raven’s devotees, and Maxwell is the Raven and has taken off to Hawai’i. The only good news? The FBI suspends all charges against Parker. Vivian’s in surgery, so Parker’s not going anywhere (even after she’s stable), but he has one order for Torres (Wilmer Valderrama) and Knight (Katrina Law), who are on their way to the island: “Go take down that son of a bitch!”

Is the Raven Still a Threat at the End of the Crossover?

At first, McGee (Sean Murray), Torres, and Knight decide to keep things in-house, though Tennant (Vanessa Lachey) and Ernie (Jason Antoon) are visiting from Hawai’i to talk to Vance (Rocky Carroll) about plans for RIMPAC, a global military exercise. But soon, they accept their offer of help (they are, after all, “extended family,” as Tennant puts it), and they end up being very useful since Ernie put together the dossier on Maxwell in his NSA days.

But Maxwell isn’t on the plane when Jesse (Noah Mills) and Kai (Alex Tarrant) are waiting in Hawai’i. Instead, he dosed the passengers and has left them a message: “My schedule’s kind of packed today, but I’m sure I’ll see you soon.” Torres wants to act fast, while Tennant reins him in. RIMPAC seems like the perfect target for a terrorist like Maxwell, and the biotoxin he has his hands on is fatal if only a fraction of an ounce touches skin. But how was Maxwell able to put everything together while behind bars? He recruited one of the guards, who helped him communicate with his followers.

Cher Alvarez as Bam Bam and Katrina Law as Jessica Knight in NCIS Hawai'i

Karen Neal/CBS

After Maxwell tricks them into following four burner phones to a group of senior citizens, they trace the fifth to him in a hotel bar … and he’s holding a detonator. He agrees to let the tourists in the bar go, but insists Knight — who oozes hostage negotiator — take them out, leaving Torres and Tennant with him. He warns her he’s holding a dead man’s switch, connected to a device that will release enough nerve agent to cause significant casualties, so no one should try anything. He then has Torres and Tennant remove their comms and give up their weapons. But where’s the bomb? That’s what the others work on, especially when Bam Bam (Cher Alvarez) can’t disable the signal booster for the detonator.

A book in Maxwell’s cell ends up giving them a major lead, with an inscription from a W.S. That’s a professor, Staggs (John Billingsley), who specializes in crowd psychology and how to control groups of people — and he’s on the island. He ran a PSYOPS pilot program, training people in his theories and how to influence people to undermine hostile organizations. Maxwell, whose real name is Jason Hearns, was one of his students, but he had to let him go because he’s crazy. Ernie is able to get that information to Torres and Tennant via one of the TVs in the bar, and they decide to use that to their advantage to stall for the others to find the bomb, suggesting they bring the professor to Hearns. Hearns agrees.

The big problem: Staggs is Hearns’ target, specifically the professor’s son, at an event on the island. As Hearns sees it, Staggs abandoned him, told him working with him would give him purpose, then threw him away. He wants the professor to watch him kill his son. Fortunately, Bam Bam disables the bomb, while Knight and Kai take out the two members of the Unkindness with it. And Hearns is arrested.

Yasmine Al-Bustami as Lucy Tara and Tori Anderson as Kate Whistler in NCIS Hawai'i


Are Palmer & Knight Officially Together?

Torres in particular enjoys teasing Knight about her and Palmer’s relationship, though she insists they’re just friends. (The plant they knocked over in Kasie’s lab says otherwise.) Whatever they are, Knight says at one point, no one at work will find out. But they look happy, and it’s so obvious what’s going on to everyone, including Ernie after Palmer tries to thwart his crush on Knight with talk of a “Rocco.”

How’s Domestic Kacy?

Things are going well for Lucy (Yasmine Al-Bustami) and Kate (Tori Anderson). In fact, when we first see them, Lucy’s made Kate a huge breakfast in bed. She wants to show her appreciation, Lucy explains, and Kate loves it. But their morning together is interrupted by the case, though they do get to talk about how much things are really working out when Ernie needs a distraction. And once the case is wrapped, it’s back to Kate’s.

Is There a New Crossover Couple?

As the previous crossover established, Torres and Tennant have a history… and a future?! They get closer than we expected of just colleagues and friends while discussing plans and him visiting her again, and while arguing in Hawai’i, he says he doesn’t want their relationship to get in the way of things. There isn’t one, she says. And as the teams are together celebrating, they talk about him coming back to Hawai’i, with the world being threatened… and for some relaxation.

What did you think of the crossover and how the Raven storyline was wrapped up? And what do you think of whatever that is between Torres and Tennant? Let us know in the comments below.

NCIS, Mondays, 9/8c, CBS

NCIS: Hawai’i, Mondays, 10/9c, CBS