‘NCIS’: Did the Show Use an ‘Excuse’ to Kill Off One Major Character?

by Matthew Wilson

“NCIS” said goodbye to several characters during its eventful Season 18. But one character exit, in particular, made some fans angry.

The show chose to kill off NCIS Medical Examiner Jimmy Palmer’s wife Breena. She died during a time jump on the show after contracting COVID-19. But some fans believe that the show used a real-life illness as an “excuse” to kill the character. One Reddit user vented about his frustration over the death, and it kicked off a discussion about using real-world issues in a fictional lens.

They wrote: “I’m still a bit pissed off about this storyline. Hear me out: They had to kill off a character and used covid as an excuse.”

Some users felt cheated by the randomness of the death. But others pointed out that deaths, including those related to COVID-19, can be random. Young and seemingly healthy people have died from the disease. But a few fans wished “NCIS” show Breena’s death instead of it being in a time jump.

“My only issue is they time skipped through the entire thing,” one user wrote. “Would’ve been better to have Jimmy mention her having covid in a few episodes and then have her die from it. Doing it the way they did, gives major “Oh I accidentally skipped an episode” vibes.”

‘NCIS’ Kills Off Longtime Character

So did “NCIS” use a real-world issue to kill off the character? Breena first appeared back in Season 7 and struck up a relationship with Jimmy Palmer. She appeared several times afterward, progressing the relationship to a marriage. But Breena hasn’t been on the show in years. Her last appearance on screen was back in Season 12 all the way back in 2015.

Though the character has been mentioned since, Breena hasn’t had a place on the show in six seasons. Perhaps, “NCIS” wanted to kill off the character to both give Palmer some character development and also open up story avenues. Jimmy actor Brian Dietzen spoke with ET Online to discuss why the show decided to kill off Breena now.

“I had been told that this was going to happen, that Jimmy was going to lose his wife before I received this script. The producers let me know that we want the advent of Covid to hit our team. And yet, we don’t want to lose a team member,” Dietzen said.

Dietzen believed the death helped push Jimmy into new storytelling opportunities on “NCIS” as a result.

“So the prospect of having Jimmy lose his wife, the most optimistic team member lose someone, came to the table and they thought it would be a great storytelling mechanic – albeit very, very sad. So they went ahead with it. I was notified ahead of time and prepared for it, I suppose, emotionally,” he continued.