Tonight's episode of NCIS was a shocking one, and we had to say goodbye to a special character. Considering this season of NCIS takes place during COVID-19, the following events are extremely tragic, but many of us had a feeling that there'd be a casualty. COVID has been the invisible big bad in many shows like NCIS, so it was bound to take down at least one character. This time, it was Breena, sweet Jimmy Palmer's wife. Earlier in the episode he says that he "lost Breena."
What happened to Breena on 'NCIS'?
So, while we know that Breena died due to COVID, we don't know how or why the seemingly health 30-something woman died of COVID. "The hospital wouldn't let me see her," Jimmy says, which was heartbreaking to hear and watch. After she passed, Jimmy read a farewell letter to her. Brian Dietzen, who plays Jimmy, opened up about the episode, and explained how shocking it was that he'd be losing his on-screen wife.
It sounds like the writers of NCIS didn't want one of the main characters to die from COVID, but they did want the pandemic to hit close to home — so they chose Jimmy's wife.
"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. 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," Brian told Entertainment Tonight.
As for how Jimmy is handling the loss? Well, as best as someone can, considering their life partner has died — yet Jimmy has a very important job to do during one of the most stressful times in U.S. history.
"Unfortunately, during this time period, a lot of folks have felt there hasn't been time to grieve because they have more to get back to and they have to keep things moving and they have to continue on. To a larger extent, not just within the healthcare industry. When a person loses a spouse and they have a child, there is a period of time where you're looking just to keep this ship floating. 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 and his team certainly can see it because they know and have loved him for years."
At this point, it seems unclear whether or not NCIS will do a deep-dive into how Breena died and what complications she faced, but it does sound like she was just one of the unlucky younger folks who had succumb the virus. As heartbreaking of an episode it was, it was an important one, a vital reminder that young, healthy people can get COVID, and that precautions must still be taken at all times. We must not let ourselves be overcome by pandemic fatigue and continue to protect ourselves.
Watch NCIS every Tuesday at 8 p.m. EST on CBS.