Mark Harmon may be the lead on “NCIS” and one of the series’ mainstays. But actor Brian Dietzen has been on the series just as long. Dietzen’s Jimmy Palmer has been an important part of the team over the years. And audiences have had the opportunity to watch both Dietzen and Palmer grow on the show.
When Dietzen was first starting out on “NCIS,” he was only a recurring character on the cast. In fact, it took the actor a decade of appearing regularly on the show to finally get bumped up to main character status. Dietzen officially joined the main cast starting in Season 10. Something he’s continued to even this day with the most recent Season 18.
But sometimes it doesn’t always work out for actors. Sometimes, they don’t gel well with their other castmates. Or they get replaced after only a few episodes for instance. But Harmon knew that Dietzen was going to work well early on. In fact, a certain moment clued the actor in. In an interview with TV Guide, Harmon discussed Dietzen joining the cast in Season One.
“I remember early on, maybe on the second day, David saying to you, ‘You come downtown with me to autopsy,” and you going, ‘All right I’m there!’ I remember right then thinking, ‘Okay this is going to work,'” Harmon said.
‘NCIS’ Kills Off Jimmy Palmer’s Wife
With his newly cemented leading character status, Brian Dietzen’s Jimmy Palmer also got a love interest as well. Breena, of course, first appeared during Season 7 and struck up a romance with the character. But over the course of the next few seasons, viewers watched their relationship blossom. Both Palmer and Breena finally tied the knot as well.
But the character disappeared after Season 12 unfortunately regulated to off-screen mentions. The most recent season of “NCIS” decided to make Palmer a widower. Breena ended up dying off-screen as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, ending the storyline.
“I had been told that this was going to happen, that Jimmy was going to lose his wife before I received this script. The producers let me know that we want the advent of Covid to hit our team. And yet, we don’t want to lose a team member,” Dietzen said.
For the actor, Breena’s death brought new dramatic weight to the role and gave Dietzen the chance to stretch his muscles as an actor.
“So the prospect of having Jimmy lose his wife, the most optimistic team member lose someone, came to the table and they thought it would be a great storytelling mechanic – albeit very, very sad. So they went ahead with it. I was notified ahead of time and prepared for it, I suppose, emotionally,” he continued.