‘NCIS’: Will Torres Become a Lone Wolf in Season 20?

by Suzanne Halliburton

Is Nick Torres going back to his lone wolf ways for season 20 of NCIS?

Torres, portrayed by Wilmer Valderrama, endured a tumultuous season 19, dealing with his abandonment issues. This is the guy who came to NCIS after working undercover. His dad abandoned him when he was 5. And then he got hit with a double dose of it over the past year, when first Bishop, his partner and love interest, left him. Then Gibbs, who was the father figure he needed, retired from NCIS to inhale the pure, serene air of Alaska.


Torres finally cracked in “Fight or Flight,” an episode that ran in January. He was surly and paranoid throughout the hour. His fellow NCIS agents said he’d been canceling plans with them. And Torres finally claimed that people at work weren’t his friends. Feeling like he has nothing to lose, Torres volunteers to go undercover as a cage fighter. He took on a much bigger man, who could’ve killed him. But Torres managed to get the best of him. Then back at the office, Jimmy (Brian Dietzen) has a heart-to-heart with Torres.

“You feel abandoned, you feel left behind. Trust me, I get that.” Jimmy told Torres. He admitted that he got angry at his wife for dying, leaving him alone to raise their daughter, Victoria.

“Sometimes people leave, even fathers,” Jimmy told Torres. “And it’s got nothing to do with you.” But then Torres asks “what if it does.” That’s the rub. Torres is feeling some sort of guilt.

In the very next NCIS episode, “The Helpers,” we learned that Torres had been helping Jimmy by coming over on Saturdays and spending time with Victoria. As the rest of the episodes played out, Torres seemed to be happier.

Valderrama described what his character was going through in a recent interview with Parade.

“I think that when you think about abandonment and someone who has had those issues, the easiest thing for them to do is to come back to what they know, and that is to be the lone wolf again,” Valderrama said.

“That’s been getting him in a little bit of trouble. He’s been struggling with overdrinking, and he’s been trying to get ahold of that. I think that if all goes well then what I would say is, hopefully, he will find a little bit of peace. He’s a very tormented soul and, I think, you’re going to see him break a lot more often than you have in the past. Hopefully, all within the purpose of getting him back on track and being at peace again.”

(Eddy Chen/CBS)

So what does that mean for season 20? Although there were rumors that Valderrama was ditching NCIS, he confirmed he’s in contract talks with CBS to continue with the series.

The premiere of season 20 should address the cliffhanger involving Alden Parker (Gary Cole) and his ex-wife, Viv (Teri Polo). When last we saw NCIS, the two were driving of in the ex-wife’s vintage Mercedes. Parker needs to clear his name. Meanwhile, Viv might be the person trying to set him up for murder.

Jimmy and Jess (Katrina Law) are starting a relationship. And McGee (Sean Murray) should be the temporary special agent in charge for however long Parker stays gone. The agents vowed to help Parker.

So what does that mean for Torres? He seems to be the odd agent out. Does he return to his lone wolf ways? Maybe sticking his neck out to help Parker will help Torres with the abandonment issues he had with Gibbs. Stay tuned.