NCIS: Is Brian Dietzen’s Jimmy Palmer OK? Could a New Cast Member Be Joining Soon?

Things are getting a bit hectic over at the NCIS headquarters. In a recent episode, we see Jimmy Palmer (Brian Dietzen) have a bit of a meltdown over his workload. Is Palmer OK? Here’s why we might see a new cast member soon.

Jimmy Palmer just can’t take it anymore

Brian Dietzen as Jimmy Palmer on NCIS | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images
Brian Dietzen as Jimmy Palmer on NCIS | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images

During “NCIS” season 17, episode 13, (titled “Sound Off”), we can see that Palmer is very overwhelmed. At the top of the episode, he comes into the area where Torres, Bishop, and McGee are sitting and begins venting about how exhausted he is. “Can I just vent?” asks Palmer. “Dr. Mallard retired. And ever since he became the official NCIS historian I have been doing the work of two people.” Now that Palmer is the only medical examiner, the entire workload falls on him. Ducky retired and is now the NCIS historian, so Palmer must handle the cases on his own.

Jimmy Palmer isn’t as happy as he seems

Brian Dietzen on NCIS | Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images
Brian Dietzen on NCIS | Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images

Although Palmer always has a smile on his face, he revealed in episode 13 that he’s been faking it lately. Deep down, he’s stressed out, anxious, and frustrated. He has been given a lot more responsibility and doesn’t quite know how to handle it all.

After Palmer says he’s doing the work of two people, Bishop chimes in to say she noticed he always does his work with a smile on his face. However, Palmer explains his smile hasn’t been genuine. “Oh, that? I’ve been faking that for the last four months,” he responds. “I have such a backlog of work to catch up on. I didn’t even go home last night. You guys, I got 14 minutes of sleep on an autopsy table.”

Will Jimmy Palmer leave NCIS?

Brian Dietzen and David McCallum | Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images
Brian Dietzen and David McCallum | Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images

Now that we know Palmer isn’t all that happy, we have to wonder if the producers are setting up his exit. As you probably know by now, the bosses don’t introduce new information into the show without a good reason. (Actress Cote de Pablo even confirms this in her interview with the BUILD series.) Viewers rarely get a peek inside Palmer’s head like this. It seems like some big changes might be coming for this character.   

Brian Dietzen says Jimmy Palmer is usually a happy guy

Palmer is usually happy, so it’s disconcerting to see him down and frustrated. During an interview with “Entertainment Tonight” host Kevin Frazier, Dietzen said he tries to portray Jimmy as an optimist. He says in real life there’s a part of his personality that is optimistic, just like Jimmy’s personality. Dietzen describes Jimmy as someone who doesn’t get down in the dumps easily:

The one thing I tried to adopt early on with Jimmy Palmer was to have him be an eternal optimist. I like to play an optimistic character. You get into a show like this, you don’t know how long it’s going to go. But you try to inject some positivity to it. I’m so glad 16 years later that [Jimmy Palmer] is a glass half overflowing kind of guy. Because it’s a pleasure to come to work and have that energy all the time. And I’m not saying I’m like that all the time, but there’s some facet of my personality that’s like that.

Read more: ‘NCIS’: The Creepy Story of How David McCallum and Brian Dietzen Bonded Over an Autopsy

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