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NCIS recap: What happened to Jimmy Palmer’s wife on the show?

Jimmy And Breena NCIS
Jimmy and Breena Palmer were always a cute couple on the NCIS cast. Pic credit: CBS

This NCIS recap takes a look back at an important storyline that involved Dr. Jimmy Palmer and his wife, Breena Palmer, during Season 18 of the hit show.

For the first few episodes of NCIS Season 18, the writers were presenting stories that took place in the past. Gibbs and Fornell were shown investigating the people who were behind Fornell’s daughter overdosing, with those scenes intermixed with stuff we had seen before from a different perspective.

And to celebrate NCIS Episode No. 400, we got to see when Gibbs and Ducky met for the first time. It led to some fun interactions between Young Gibbs (played by the son of Mark Harmon) and Young Ducky.

Once the stories from the past had been resolved — which included Gibbs shooting McGee multiple times at an airport to save his life — the show went through a huge time jump to bring it to the present day. That’s where we learned some really sad news about the NCIS cast.

NCIS cast loses Breena Palmer in Season 18

During NCIS Season 18, Episode 7, a bombshell was dropped on viewers when Dr. Jimmy Palmer referenced the death of his wife. The episode revealed that Breena Palmer had died due to COVID-19 during the time between this new installment and the end of the previous season.

This was the first episode that caught up to the present, and the writers used it to reveal that a character had died off-screen during that time frame. After appearing as Breena Palmer for a number of years on the show, actress Michelle Pierce left the NCIS cast.

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A shocking NCIS death

The death of Breena Palmer was extremely shocking and it definitely caught a lot of viewers off-guard. When Jimmy was talking about his wife in the past tense in later episodes, it also led to a lot of questions from viewers who had not seen Breena die on the show. The fact that it took place off-screen ended up getting missed by some viewers.

It was definitely a tragic way for the show to not only recognize what was going on in the real world, but to also take Jimmy’s character in a different direction on NCIS. Since Breena wasn’t seen on the screen very often, it also made her expendable, in the sense that the writers could tell a substory for the season.

Many characters have left the NCIS cast in the past, but it usually takes place during an episode. That didn’t turn out to be the case for Breena Palmer, even though she will likely continue to be referenced in future episodes.

As for the Season 19 NCIS cast, two new people have joined the show for upcoming episodes. This became necessary due to Emily Wickersham (Bishop) leaving NCIS at the end of Season 18. NCIS will look a bit different when it returns in the fall of 2021, but the show must go on.

NCIS airs Season 19 in the fall of 2021 on CBS.

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