NCIS pulled a Linda Reagan on us a little over a year ago, with its first episode set during the pand3mic, gradually revealing that Dr. Jimmy Palmer’s wife, Breena, had d1ed of C0V1D.
Viewers missed Jimmy’s farewell to his wife due to an imperfect storm of C0V1D protocols during filming, as well as the off-screen time jump. But that was somewhat remedied on Monday, when series alum Michelle Pierce reprised her role as Breena in a dream-like sequence.
The episode “The Helpers,” which was co-written by cast member Brian Dietzen (who plays Jimmy), began with Jimmy resting his head on Breena’s lap in the middle of a picturesque field. While Jimmy expresses his longing for her, Breena is intent on getting him to open his eyes — that is, to regain consciousness after fainting in the NCIS lab, where he and Kasie were exposed to a lethal biotoxin.
“One of the big reasons why I wanted to put this [scene] in there was because Jimmy never got to say goodbye to his wife on-camera, and the audience never got to see her and say goodbye either,” Dietzen said as both Jimmy’s portrayer and a co-writer of the emotional hour.
“The reasoning behind that is not just to give the episode a cool cinematic opening,” Dietzen explained, but also because “I wanted to have Michelle back to the set, and she wanted to come as well.” “The fact that Michelle was able to return was just such a blessing, as she has definitely been one of my favorites to work with on the show.”
Furthermore, because the (did we mention emotional?) episode reintroduced viewers to Jimmy and Breena’s SORASed, now-tweenage daughter Victoria (played by Elle Graper), “it also was a way for us to have the three of us — myself, our daughter, and Breena — all in one episode, albeit we weren’t all together in the same scene,” Dietzen explained.
After grieving Breena for over a year (and still wearing his wedding band), it was important “for Jimmy’s sake to be able to say, ‘I’m moving on, and I can do that because my wife is telling me it’s time for me to not live in the past with this anymore and be more present as a father,'” his actor says.
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