How the ‘NCIS’ Season 19 Finale Differed From the Show’s Past

by Suzanne Halliburton

With Parker on the run and all this talk about The Raven in the NCIS finale, you might’ve missed the sweet moment that made our hearts flutter.

Jimmy and Jess kissed. They really are going to be a couple. And the transition from office friends to office romance wasn’t a drawn-out, will they/won’t they process. That’s the antithesis of past NCIS office romances. Executive producer Steven A Binder chatted about this new coupling during an interview with TV Insider.

“A lot of the couplings have happened over time (and) a lot more organically than this one is occurring,” Binder said of the season 19 finale development. “Tony (Michael Weatherly) and Ziva (Cote de Pablo) were not a thing for a really long time and then they were a thing. Torres (Wilmer Valderrama) and Bishop (Emily Wickersham), again, were not a thing for a really long time and then they were a thing.

“This time, we just want to go a different route and this route can go anywhere,” he said. “By getting together sooner, they can break up sooner and then we can be in that space or they can be together. We just didn’t want to slow walk the part that we’ve slow walked before because that enables us to get to places that we haven’t done before.”

The NCIS social media account even is soliciting names for the newest couple. How about a simple J squared.

If you’re an avid NCIS watcher, especially this season, you realize the accelerated romantic timeline between Jess (Katrina Law) and Jimmy (Brian Dietzen). Jess was a new full-time character for season 19. She transferred in from another NCIS office late in season 18 after her fellow co-workers died in an explosion. Meanwhile, Jimmy was getting over a broken heart. His wife died at the beginning of season 18. She was one of the early victims of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dietzen co-wrote a beautiful episode called “The Helpers.” It ran Feb. 28 (Outsider recap here). And in it, Jimmy’s wife, Breena, came back to him in an apparent hallucination. Jimmy and Kasie had been poisoned and were close to dying if an antidote couldn’t be found. When Jimmy recovered, he decided it was time to date again. He couldn’t keep his private life in limbo any longer.

Robert Voets/CBS ©2022

In another episode, Jess invited Jimmy to be her plus one at a wedding. Then the two got stuck together in the penultimate episode of season 19. Jimmy and Jess were on a medical courier assignment as they transported a liver to another hospital. And someone was out to get them, Turns out, the liver was to be donated to a star witness for the government against the CEO of a gaming company. At the end of the episode, the two decided to go on a coffee date. Jess had been hesitant to commit since she didn’t want to lose her friendship with Jimmy. But she asked him out.

In Monday’s NCIS episode “Birds of a Feather,” all the agents needed to fill out forms for HR listing relationships and potential conflict of interest. Without telling her first, Jimmy wrote that he was in a relationship with Jess. The two talked about it. And then they kissed.

For more details about the NCIS season 19 finale, you can check out the Outsider recap here.