Tuesday's episode of NCIS fast-forwarded to the pandemic, and revealed that one member of the team was hit especially hard by COVID-19. Jimmy Palmer suffered a devastating loss when his wife, Breena, died of the virus.
While catching up with the team in the bullpen, Jimmy shared that his mom was moving in to help out after Breena's death.
"You guys were so great, when, you know... I lost Breena," he said. "But between work, single parenting, school, it just got to be too much. So, I called in a lifeline."
The moment came as a shock for fans, and served as a stark reminder of the pandemic, which has taken the lives of over 460,000 people in the U.S.
Viewers were heartbroken for Jimmy, while others expressed their frustration over the storyline, especially following the deaths of other characters on NCIS. See their reactions below.
@NCIS_CBS Palmer's wife passes away? Y'all really have to stop killing off the wives & women on this show! Kate, Jenny, the female FBI agent Tony liked, Ziva-then you bring her back, Gibbs' wife, Vance's wife, now Palmer!? Just let the bad guys perish until the series finale!🤨
As actor Brian Dietzen told ET, the NCIS writers informed him of Jimmy's loss well before he received the script for the episode. The decision was made after organic conversations over the creative fuel Breena's death would provide for his story moving forward, as well as the rest of the team.
"We can see within this week's episode that Jimmy is trying to keep whatever happiness he can, trying to say, 'Hey, my glass is half overflowing here. I'm doing really great,' while we as the audience can see that that may not be the case," he said. "He's doing whatever he can just keep his head above water. But there's only so long that that can happen before there's going to be a certain breaking point."
Dietzen mentioned how tough the pandemic has been on front-line workers especially.
"I think that was one of the interesting and obviously heartbreaking things about this disease that we've all seen, is these people on the front line were working as doctors who are working as EMTs who have had to go through heartbreak on their own. And yet they're asked to just continue working because if they stop working, then we don't have our frontline there for us anymore," he said. "In many ways, this episode turned out to be a recognition of people who have lost others during this pandemic."
NCISairs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS. For more on the series, watch below.