‘NCIS’ Star Wilmer Valderrama Can Only Shrug at Long Wait for Show’s Return

by Suzanne Halliburton

NCIS fans, please know Wilmer Valderrama feels your angst. It’s definitely been a long wait for a new episode. And there are still days to go.

Well, drat.

Valderrama loves to tease his fans on social media with behind-the-scenes moments from the show. So on Thursday, he posted a photo of his frustrated self from the set. The caption: “February 28th?… really?… ok.. new Ep then then. #NCIS.

The last new NCIS episode was all the way back on Jan. 24. Then the show, like most other network primetime series, paused and took a hiatus while NBC aired wall-to-wall Winter Olympics. As Valderrama posted, the next new episode is Feb. 28. NCIS: Hawai’i also returns that night. NCIS: Los Angeles comes back, Feb. 27. And it’s been off the air since Jan. 9.

So let’s catch up with NCIS and Valderrama’s Torres. In a word, Torres is a mess. The last new episode was “Fight or Fight.” And Torres was anxious, paranoid and sullen. He also was pushing away his friends. The case involved a murder and an illegal immigration ring tied into an underground fight club. Torres volunteered to throw down in a cage fight and drew an opponent who was a lot bigger. It looked like he had a death wish. But Torres managed to beat the guy as the NCIS agents gathered evidence to bust the fight promoter.

At the end of the episode, Torres went downstairs to talk to Jimmy (Brian Dietzen). After all, Jimmy is the optimistic, thoughtful guy who can set you straight. The agents had figured out that Gibbs’ departure triggered these emotions in Torres. So Jimmy talked about how his wife died of Covid and the feelings that still linger.

Jimmy told Torres: “you feel abandoned, you feel left behind. Trust me, I get that.”

“Sometimes people leave, even father’s,” Jimmy told Torres. “And it’s got nothing to do with you.”

Then Torres asks Jimmy, “what if it does.” That’s when Jimmy puts his hand on Torres’ shoulder and tells “You have to open yourself up again if you ever want to heal.”

Michael Yarish/CBS

And now we know that the new episode will address more about what’s happening with Torres. NCIS fans had been concerned that Valderrama might even be leaving.

Dietzen chatted with TV Line about the new episode, which is called “The Helpers.” But first, let’s hit the CBS official plot synopsis. “While investigating the death of an intruder at Quantico, Jimmy and Kasie are exposed to a deadly biotoxin, and the NCIS team calls on Doctor Carol Wilson (Meredith Eaton) for help as they race to find the antidote. Also, Torres tries to distract Jimmy’s daughter, who came to the office to spend the day with her dad.”

“Wilmer just kind of knocks it out of the park,” Dietzen said.  “There are a couple of moments that definitely got me, you know?”

If you’d like to catch up on NCIS, check out Outsider’s recap of “Fight or Flight.”