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The Untold Truth Of NCIS' Clayton Reeves

When Season 14 of "NCIS" premiered, we needed a bit of an adjustment thanks to new additions to the main cast. Among those joining the ranks of Leroy Gibbs' (Mark Harmon) tightly-knit team was British Agent Clayton Reeves (Duane Henry), who was promoted to a more permanent role following his brief appearance in Season 13. Reeves was hired as the NCIS Liaison Officer for their international desk. Equipped with a charming suaveness and quickly demonstrating his impressive skills in the field, Reeves immediately became a fan favorite.

Yet his quick rise to beloved status proved a bit of a tease, as his tenure on "NCIS" didn't last particularly long. Reeves hung with the team for two full seasons before meeting his shocking demise in Season 15. When out for dinner with teammate Abby Sciuto (Pauley Perrette), he dies while protecting her from a mugger. The character's death comes just as it feels as if he is finally finding his footing among his "NCIS" cohort. 

Reeves maintained a bit of mystery about him during his time on "NCIS." Fortunately, we've unraveled much of it in the aftermath of his untimely demise. With that said, let's take a look at the untold truth of Clayton Reeves.

Reeves ran up a huge bar tab with DiNozzo

Clayton made his first appearance during the last two episodes of Season 13 when he was still working for MI6. So exactly why does an MI6 Agent come over to the States to work with NCIS? The answer has to do with agent Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly). In the episode "Dead Letters," it's revealed that Reeves and DiNozzo worked together previously overseas to search for a suspect in Russia. It turns out the two also spent a significant amount of time and money at a bar.

In the same episode, when Reeves makes it stateside and is asked why he didn't contact DiNozzo about arriving, DiNozzo says that he hopes it's not related to a huge bar tab the two ran up in the Russian city Omsk (via TV Insider). We never find out just how much the two spent or the painful hangover they probably suffered, but it's an excellent subtle way to connect Reeves to DiNozzo further. In retrospect, it could even be considered a kind of passing of the torch. During this time, when Reeves was coming into "NCIS," DiNozzo was making his exit. This also isn't the first time the series refers to Reeves' drinking, although it takes a much more serious turn when further explored. More on that later.

Duane Henry considers Reeves a lone wolf

Reeves hasn't had an easy life. Before his career of catching international bad guys, the character had a very rough childhood. His parents died when he was only three, and he was abused in foster care (via NCIS Fandom). His professional life before NCIS isn't rosy either. Per Entertainment Weekly, before joining Gibbs' team, he'd already managed to torch numerous bridges within the intelligence community due to some of his decisions. Given his rough background, it's easy to see that Reeves has a problem playing well with others. Honestly, who could blame him?

So it's probably not a stretch to say that Reeves' actor Duane Henry also considers the character a lone wolf of sorts. As he noted in an interview with Parade Magazine, most of the time, Reeves carried around an "iceberg feeling," especially when he wound up joining NCIS. In the same interview, Henry expressed that his character probably related to Gibbs the most due to his boss' similar lone wolf nature. After all, there is that adage about wolves always traveling in packs.

Reeves was recovering from alcohol addiction

In the Season 15 Episode, "Fake It Till You Make It," we get a little more insight into the mysterious life of Reeves due to a shocking bombshell. Per Entertainment Weekly, the episode reveals Reeves regularly attends Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) Meetings. It turns out that for quite some time, the agent has been trying to recover from his excessive drinking. It only comes to light due to a case involving a friend that Reeves met while attending a meeting. This revelation is quite a shock for Reeves' teammates, as he manages to hide this aspect of his life so well that few knew of it previously. To be fair, Reeves is an actual spy, so he's probably pretty good at keeping personal details close to the vest.

As the episode continues, we learn that the only other person who initially knows of his AA attendance is agent Eleanor Bishop (Emily Wickersham) due to meetings he attended overseas while the two were visiting Scotland Yard. To their credit, the NCIS team offers their utmost respect to Reeves after learning about his long-fought battle with addiction. Abby even offers a listening ear if ever needed. Still hiding this fact from his cohorts initially could have potentially made for a big mistake, especially when it's linked to an investigation involving his AA friend.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Reeves' death is linked to actual tragic circumstances

Reeves' sudden death in Season 15 is already sad because it feels like he leaves the show without reaching his full potential. It's even more disheartening when we consider the behind-the-scenes reason for his exit. In an interview with TV Line, Henry revealed that his character's departure from "NCIS" was related to the death of late showrunner Gary Glasberg. Glasberg was the longtime showrunner for "NCIS" before he tragically died in his sleep in 2016 (via Variety). As Henry noted in the TV Line interview, Glasberg was responsible for creating Reeves, so when he passed away, the show's producers had no idea how the character could continue to fit within "NCIS."

And so the decision was made to kill off Reeves. Reeves' exit from the series is devastating in light of the fact that Glasberg not only seemed to like the character, but had a lot of faith in Henry to portray Reeves properly. In an older post from Entertainment Weekly, when first introducing the character and Henry in Season 13, Glasberg said, "We think we found something really special in Duane Henry. His unique blend of charm, heart, and athletic physicality is going to be a great addition to the mix. Everyone at NCIS is excited to have him join us."

Fans were really upset over Reeves' surprise death

To say that Reeves' death upset some fans is kind of an understatement. For one, fans voted for him as a runner-up to the one death on "NCIS" that hurts the most. His death barely lost out to the equally terrible death of young Emily Fornell (Juliette Angelo) in a special poll. As some pointed out on Reddit, the main issue with his demise is related to the feeling of being gone way too soon. As Redditor u/cnzaah wrote, "I feel like I was just getting to know him and wanted to learn more about him and rooted for him, and he dies."

U/keanovan agreed while also noting the excellent dynamic he added to the team. They posted, "The writers killing off Reeves was dumb. He was my favorite, and was so sad when they killed him off. He had so much potential, and I loved what he brought to the team." If there is one silver lining to consider about Reeves' final moment on "NCIS," it's that at least he went out in a heroic fashion. In his TV Line interview, the actor commented that his character's onscreen death is "TV history," noting that he couldn't have asked for a better way to say goodbye.