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Here's What We Know About Torres' Family History On NCIS

One of the enjoyable aspects of watching a long-running series like "NCIS" is the chance to get to know the characters and their backstories. The histories of our determined protagonists are often never fully outright but rather parceled out in snippets, brief asides, or in exposition delivered by other characters. Half the fun of being in the audience for the series and its spinoffs is in watching the characters' layers get slowly peeled away, revealing more and more about them and giving us the chance to get to know them better and root for them just that much harder.

A prime example of this sort of development comes from NCIS investigator Special Agent Nick Torres (Wilfredo Valderrama). When he first appeared in the Season 14 episode "Rogue," Torres was a deep-cover NCIS agent drawn in after the murder of his brother-in-law, killed by one of his enemies in an effort to kill his sister. After bringing down the man who'd threatened his family with the aid of the NCIS, Leroy Gibbs (Mark Harmon) was so impressed by Torres that he offered him a place on the NCIS team. After that, we knew very little of Torres' background. At least, not until Season 18.

Torres has a devastating background with his father

In the Season 18 episode "Sangre," an unexpected discovery is made while investigating the murder of a marine staff sergeant — DNA that matches Torre's family. Torres is initially confused by this, and when it's suggested that it could be his father, the agent remarks that his dad was a deadbeat and had died years ago. We see a flashback to young Torres waking up in the middle of the night to see his father, Miguel (Steven Bauer), leaving the house. He makes an excuse to his son about needing to step out for a while and assures Torres he'll be back. The next day Miguel is gone and out of Torres' life — until the NCIS tails a suspect that turns out to be the missing father.

The reason for Miguel's absence in Nick's life is explained shortly after. Miguel is, in fact, an operative for the CIA, one that was working to take down Manuel Noriega and is still utilized by the agency in South America. He'd returned to track down a colleague turned traitor, which in turn led him to Torres and the NCIS. The reunion is a tense one, to say the least, as Torres' resentment boils over before they can work together to deal with the issue at hand. Despite a hopeful moment when Torres learns that Miguel funneled money to support his family through the Torres family's church, the episode ends with Miguel having abandoned his family once again, choosing the job over his family.

While Torres grew into a capable agent and a dedicated investigator on his own, the abandonment by his father clearly cut deep. It likely informed his cool and detached demeanor when it comes to interpersonal relationships.