The “NCIS” team would be pretty lost if they didn’t have Dr. Jimmy Palmer examining bodies as the Chief Medical Examiner. Or, as some like to call him, the “Autopsy Gremlin.”
Palmer is played by Brian Dietzen and started as a supporting actor in 2004. Back in 2012, Dietzen was promoted to a series regular at the beginning of season 10 of the show. Since then, we’ve certainly gotten to see a lot of him on the screen. He’s a key asset for the team in solving some pretty gruesome crimes.
Brian Dietzen Landing ‘NCIS’ Job
Regardless of his status as a regular or supporting role, Dietzen actually has one particular co-star to thank for landing the “NCIS” gig to begin with.
When the show’s executives spotted Dietzen working alongside David McCallum (who plays Donald “Ducky” Mallard on the show) they knew it was a magical pairing. The two have insane chemistry as they chat while leaning over and examining dead bodies together.
“When I first joined the show seven years ago, I was just supposed to be a one-day guest star. A lot of the reason I stuck around is because David and I had a great relationship and repartee. The writers and producers saw that and said, ‘Let’s keep that guy around. Keep him working with us.’ It’s meant a heck of a lot to me, personally, behind the camera and in front of it,” Dietzen said to Starry Constellation Magazine.
The two actors have amazing on-screen chemistry. Given both of their roles on the show, it makes sense that it all started while peering at a dead body.
Bonding Over Bodies
David McCallum is one of the last few people that have been around since the very beginning of “NCIS.” This is especially true after Mark Harmon said his goodbyes earlier this season. McCallum’s role on the show has shifted quite a bit, however. He is now the historian for “NCIS” and makes only a couple of appearances on the show rather sporadically.
For Dietzen, however, there was no one better to learn the autopsy process from than McCallum himself. McCallum made it a habit to attend real autopsies so that he could accurately imitate on the screen. Mark Harmon shared with Entertainment Tonight that McCallum invited him to an autopsy with him, which is a real honor in the “NCIS” world.
“And I remember David at the end of whatever it was the first day, saying to Brian, ‘Hey, you wanna come with me to do an autopsy?’ And I remember thinking, ‘Oh, David’s inviting him to an autopsy’ … But he wouldn’t invite him if he didn’t like him and didn’t find something in him. And Brian right away went, ‘Absolutely!’ And they were off … I thought, ‘Wow, commitment.’ And there they are,” Harmon said.