Sometimes, it’s the emotional pull, not the complex crimes, that lures viewers into NCIS.
Otherwise, how do you explain the popularity of the NCIS episode dubbed “Keep Going.” It’s one of the first to focus on Brian Dietzen’s Dr. Jimmy Palmer. His character started as an assistant to medical examiner Dr. Ducky Mallard in the finale of season one. But when David McCallum decided to leave the show as a full-time cast member, Ducky became the official NCIS historian and Palmer moved up to first-team ME.
“Keep Going” was very Jimmy-centric. First, let’s go to the NCIS plot blast: “During an NCIS hit-and-run investigation, Palmer joins a stranger on the outside ledge of a building in an attempt to save his life.”
Jimmy Risked His Life to Save a Stranger
One fan left this review on IMDb:
“All episodes have their own character, and something good to recommend them. BUT – this is by far the single best NCIS epi I have ever seen (and I’ve seen them all to date).
“This is heartfelt. It authentically opened my emotions up, and by the end I was in tears. Not tears of sentiment, but of true and honest emotion. Jimmy Palmer (the character) was amazing, as was Gibbs, Bishop, and Ducky (everybody, actually). I LOVE this episode! I wish more of them were of this stellar quality – but with hundreds and hundreds of NCIS episodes that would be asking for the super human.”
Collectively, users on IMDb, the huge entertainment database, gave this episode a grade of 9.2 on a 10-point scale. That’s the highest any of the 436 NCIS episodes have scored.
Remember the Perfect NCIS Advice about Going Through Hell
To start this episode, which originally aired on Jan. 24, 2017, the always sunshine-and-rainbows ME was in a funk. Abby brought him some cookies she decorated with skulls. Jimmy was down because his wife and daughter were out of town. And the weather was dark and dreary.
Ducky told Jimmy: “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
The case of the week involved the hit-and-run death of a Navy captain. The son, Ryan, was in the car and thinks the accident was his fault. As the agents gathered at the scene, Jimmy noticed someone on a ledge of a nearby building. He raced to rescue the guy and climbed out on the ledge with him. Gibbs does the same, but the guy threatens to jump and take Jimmy with him. There are some Jimmy flashbacks as he talks to Ryan. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Jimmy, Torres and McGee paced a tiny microphone in a hamburger box and plant it on the ledge. That way, they could hear Jimmy over the sirens.
Gibbs Doesn’t Mind That Jimmy Mentions His Sadness
Jimmy empties his soul to Ryan. He even mentions how much sadness Gibbs endured with the sudden loss of his wife and daughter. Ryan and Jimmy stay on the ledge for hours. Jimmy will do anything to keep Ryan, a stranger, from dying. He tells him: “If you find meanness, you kill it with kindness… You open doors for strangers, you let a car go ahead of you in traffic. Who cares? Just smile more. And if you want good friends, be a good friend. They will find you, I promise.”
Then Jimmy repeats what Ducky told him. When you’re in hell, keep going. Ryan finally agreed to come inside. And then Gibbs gave the episode a classic NCIS ending. He invited Jimmy to his basement. As Jimmy tried to apologize for spilling Gibbs’ secret, the special agent in charge gave the ME a hug.
An NCIS fan wrote: “Most thought out episode I’ve seen yet! Characters developed behind the scene. Awesome inspirational words that most of us have heard, but nearly not enough. If this episode was a movie I’d give Jimmy an academy (award).”