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NCIS' Brian Dietzen Discusses His Character's On-Screen Romance - Exclusive

Brian Dietzen has been starring as Dr. Jimmy Palmer on "NCIS" ever since the first season, which means his character has seen and done just about everything in the show's 20 seasons. Still, the series has managed to find him a fresh storyline — a new love interest.

Just two seasons ago, Jimmy lost his wife, Breena (Michelle Pierce), to COVID. A few episodes later, Katrina Law entered the "NCIS" fold as Special Agent Jessica Knight. By season 19, Jimmy and Jessica were in full-blown flirting mode leading up to the season finale, when the two finally kissed and decided to see where things went.

With Season 20 of "NCIS" now in full swing on CBS on Monday nights, fans may be wondering where the Jimmy-Jessica love story is headed. So, during a recent exclusive interview with Brian Dietzen, Looper asked the veteran "NCIS" actor to point us in the right direction.

Jimmy and Jessica's relationship brings a 'refreshing' change to NCIS

In the Season 20 premiere of "NCIS" — though we didn't get to see too much of Jimmy and Jessica — it was clear the pair was an item. But Brian Dietzen assures fans that there's plenty more to come in terms of the blossoming love story, which he views as a "refreshing" change to the long-running series.

"I like what's happening with it," says Dietzen. "To see two people who are co-workers on a television show have a healthy adult relationship with one another can be refreshing. There's a tried-and-true relationship mechanic on many different TV shows, which is 'will they, won't they.' Seeing each other from across the room and trying to draw that out as long as possible. It's tried and true for a reason — because it does work. But it's nice to see people be happy with one another sometimes, and that can also help deepen friendships and relationships amongst the rest of the team. I'm hoping that it goes toward that direction, which would be a nice change around 'NCIS.'"

Dietzen feels that a show filled with so much "heartbreak" needs this kind of storyline right now, especially coming off a season where the series lost its biggest star, Mark Harmon, who recently left the show after 19 years.

"There's been a lot of loss and a lot of heartbreak amongst romantic relationships in the past, whether it be on screen or off," he says. "Vance's wife, Jimmy's wife, Tony and Ziva, Bishop and Torres, Sloane and Gibbs — there's a lot of heartbreak, a lot of kisses on planes before people leave, and it would be nice to see something that's celebrated and perhaps lifted up."

What to expect from their relationship going forward

As for where exactly the Jimmy-Jessica love story is headed, Dietzen hints that it'll be nothing but smooth sailing for the couple in the foreseeable future.

"It's been wonderful to see their relationship [develop] and see them get closer, especially during the last couple episodes of last season," he says. "What I've loved about it so far is that we get to see two people who see something in one another, and they want to know what it's all about. There's less of a mystery there, less of a 'Oh my gosh, what might happen?' It's just two people who are saying, 'Hey, let's see if there's anything here.' It's going to be exciting to see what happens between the two of them."

Season 20 of "NCIS" airs Mondays on CBS at 9 p.m. ET/PT and is available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+.