'NCIS': What Happened to Jimmy's Wife?

NCIS Season 18 began with an extended flashback that kept the team before the era of COVID-19. In Episode 7, however, the show took a time-jump forward, and took the CBS show's characters to a world that has dealt with the coronavirus. Sadly, however, one character was revealed to have died during the months the show missed.

Spoilers ahead.

In the episode, titled "The First Day," fans were first teased of the death when Jimmy Palmer (played by Brian Dietzen) revealed that he was having to home-school his kids solo. It was then revealed this was because he had "lost Breena." He added, "but between work, single parenting, school, it just got to be too much. So, I called in a lifeline," revealing his mom had moved in to help with the kids.

Breena Palmer (Michelle Pierce), of course, was the wife of Jimmy since they married in the Season 9 finale in 2012, has appeared in five episodes of the procedural. Most recently, she appeared in NCIS Season 12 in 2015, when viewers saw the character give birth to their daughter Victoria—who is now five years old.

jimmy wife ncis
Jimmy's wife Breena (Michelle Pierce, right) was revealed to have died of COVID-19 in 'NCIS' Season 18, Episode 7. CBS

The episode, however, did not reveal how she died, but did focus on the grief that Jimmy was feeling following the loss of his spouse. Or, rather, the grief he did not seem to be feeling, with the cast worrying that he seemed too cheerful.

However, it was soon revealed this was because he was stuck in the denial stage of grieving, as COVID-related restrictions meant that he had not been able to give her a memorial. To help him, Gibbs brought the team together to stage a memorial of their own to Jimmy's wife.

Though it was not confirmed within the show, Dietzen has confirmed in interviews that the character died of COVID-19.

Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, for example, he said: "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. 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."

NCIS is far from the only show that has chosen to address the coronavirus by having one of the characters die of it. ABC's The Good Doctor, for example, saw nurse Deena Petringa (Karin Konoval) lose her life to the virus, while Grey's Anatomy nearly lost its main character after the stresses and strains of COVID put Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) in a coma.

Unlike these medical dramas, however, the show itself has decided to skip over the whole coronavirus pandemic—a smart move for the show that has managed to sell its reruns all around the world, and so does not want to make a set of episodes that will (hopefully) look anachronistic in coming years.

Among the other shows that decided to skip the pandemic were fellow CBS procedural Blue Bloods plus the aforementioned The Good Doctor, which moved forward in time after a two-episode COVID-19 arc.

NCIS Season 18 airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. CT on CBS.

Correction 2/11/21: This article originally stated that Jimmy's wife Breena Palmer gave birth to twins. In the show Breena gave birth to a daughter, Victoria Elizabeth Palmer. Newsweek regrets the error.