The NCIS Franchise’s 1000th Episode Moment That Really Touched Brian Dietzen


“NCIS” has a history that’s so long and storied that even the actors working on the show are moved by it. Brian Dietzen, who’s been playing medical examiner Jimmy Palmer since Season 1, admitted to Entertainment Weekly that the drama’s 1000th episode had put him in a reflective mood — and touched him.

Referring to the montage that ends “A Thousand Yards,” Dietzen said, “The ending, it just got me. It’s one thing to read it in script form, but then when you get to see it, and see how visually it all comes together with the music swelling and you’re showing some of these seminal moments from the history of ‘NCIS’ and also simple moments like Gibbs helping a kid build a tree house.” Noting that the show’s two-decade-long history helps make the moment more moving, Dietzen added, “You’re reminded that this is how we got here. Yeah, it definitely got me.”

Dietzen, naturally, has been there for every single step of the drama’s growing pains. Ergo, he has opinions about how Jimmy has changed and grown over the years — and unsurprisingly, he seems quite proud of the man Mr. Palmer has become.

Brian Dietzen notes that Jimmy’s growth has occured slowly


As “NCIS” has developed, so has Jimmy Palmer. As Jimmy’s backstory has grown, Brian Dietzen has stuck with every single creative twist and turn along the way. He has carefully helped Jimmy Palmer as time has gone on, and for him, the key is to keep Jimmy recognizable while making him a realistically growing person. “With procedural television like this, that character has a new story to tell each week, and he has to remain similar enough that people can recognize him as the character they’ve grown to love.” But, Dietzen points out, Palmer is a human being, so the things that happen in the show and the events that color his life end up having an impact on Jimmy, including the death of his wife after she contracted COVID-19. “As an actor, what makes it interesting is to find those changes that are gradual and really playing the long game with it so that it doesn’t seem like just overnight, oh, gosh, Jimmy’s changed so dramatically from season 10 to 11, or from season 20 to 21, that those things make sense and still seem organic.” He admits that the challenge keeps him growing as an actor — and does the same for his fellow performers.

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While “A Thousand Yards” might not be the ultimate Jimmy Palmer episode of “NCIS,” it definitely shows that Jimmy continues to develop as a character, and hopefully, he’ll get to do so for many more episodes to come.


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