Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Truth About Why Jimmy Palmer's Wife Died On NCIS

Longtime fans of the hit CBS procedural dramedy NCIS have had to suffer the loss of several characters over the years as stars left the show, and each one has seemed more devastating than the last. However, there was one off-screen death that gives a nod to the widespread losses many have suffered in real life across the country and throughout the entire world.

The sweet relationship between the team's medical examiner with a sunny disposition, Dr. Jimmy Palmer (Brian Dietzen), and his wife, Breena (Michelle Pierce), was short-lived, and viewers won't be seeing any more of the two together onscreen. In a recent episode, it was revealed that her character died, though the audience didn't see her death. 

So what exactly happened to poor Breena? To help fill you in on how this development will affect the storyline, we've got the truth about why Jimmy Palmer's wife died on NCIS.

Jimmy Palmer's wife on NCIS died of COVID-19

In an interview with ET, Dietzen clarified that his character's wife on NCIS died from COVID-19.

While viewers don't see what happened to Breena, her death is acknowledged when Jimmy thanks Eleanor Bishop (Emily Wickersham) for the support he's received from the team since losing his wife. Explaining why he asked his mother to move in for a while, Palmer says, "You guys were so great, when, you know ... I lost Breena. But between work, single parenting, school, it just got to be too much. So, I called in a lifeline." However, the cause of her death is noted more subtly through Palmer's distribution of cleaning supplies and difficulty saying the phrase "COVID-19."

The NCIS writers told Dietzen that the loss of his wife due to COVID-19 will help drive both his character's story and that of the entire team. Dietzen told the outlet, "We can see within this week's episode that Jimmy is trying to keep whatever happiness he can, trying to say, 'Hey, my glass is half overflowing here. I'm doing really great,' while we as the audience can see that that may not be the case. He's doing whatever he can just keep his head above water. But there's only so long that that can happen before there's going to be a certain breaking point."

The NCIS showrunners wanted the death of Jimmy Palmer's wife to drive the story

Dietzen went on to say that the NCIS showrunners wanted to incorporate the devastation brought on in the real world by the coronavirus pandemic into the show without having to lose a core character. Ultimately, how Breena's death affects the ever-optimistic Jimmy will also help drive the story for the whole team.

The actor told the outlet, "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. So they went ahead with it. I was notified ahead of time and prepared for it, I suppose, emotionally."