‘NCIS’: Pauley Perrette Explained Why People Keep Dying on ‘NCIS’

NCIS seems to be the show where characters go to die. People have been dropping like flies lately. What’s going on? Why has the Grim Reaper been making so many collections on the CBS drama in such a short amount of time? Former NCIS star Pauley Perrette once explained why people to keep dying on the show.

Warning: This article contains spoilers for NCIS Season 18, episode 9.

There have been two recent shocking deaths on ‘NCIS’

Brian Dietzen and Pauley Perrette on 'NCIS' | Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images
Brian Dietzen and Pauley Perrette on ‘NCIS’ | Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images

During NCIS Season 18, Episode 7 (titled “The First Day”), we learned about the death of Jimmy Palmer’s wife, Breena. Jimmy revealed that Breena died from COVID-19. He was having a tough time with her death, so he put on a happy face and tried to power through the workday.

However, Jimmy’s colleagues felt he was being a little too chipper for a recent widower. Gibbs took Sloane’s suggestion and decided to pull Jimmy aside and talk to him. Gibbs let him know he was stuck in the first stage of grief, which is denial.

NCIS Season 18, Episode 9 (titled “Winter Chill”), revealed another death. Toward the end of this episode, Tobias Fornell found out his daughter, Emily, died. He found her on the floor in her room next to a bottle of pills. He rushed her to the hospital for treatment, but it was too late.

Emily struggled with addiction in the past and received professional help, but she had a relapse. After all Tobias has been through with Emily, it just seemed like a cruel end to her story.

Pauley Perrette once explained why people keep dying on ‘NCIS’

Many relationships on NCIS end in death (others end in divorce). For example, Vance’s wife was killed, and Gibbs’ wife and daughter were killed. Now Breena (Jimmy’s wife) and Emily (Fornell’s daughter) have met their demise.

Ellie Bishop was married, but she divorced shortly after joining the team. If a person on NCIS is in a stable relationship or has a happy home life, at some point their loved one is killed, or the couple breaks up.

During a 2016 interview with CBS about NCIS Season 13, Perrette once said there are issues with relationships on NCIS. She seemed to say that if things are calm, the producers like to shake things up with the characters and create a bit of drama.

[There are] relationship problems with the characters of NCIS. No one can ever get it right. DiNozzo, that’s just been a disaster all the time. Abby has just been all over the place with her relationships. Vance, of course, had the most wonderful relationship, so [the writers] killed his wife. You just can’t [have a happy relationship] on NCIS. And Gibbs is the guy who has failed at every relationship he has ever been in. And then we have Ellie and Jake come in. And we think, ‘Oh, great, a happy, young married couple.’ And things were not as they appeared.

Pauley Perrette

Many fans aren’t happy about Emily Fornell’s death

Many fans took to social media to express their disappointment with season 18, episode 9. Some thought it was unnecessary and harsh to kill off Emily so close to the death of Jimmy’s wife. Others are still dealing with Maria Bello’s (Jack Sloane) departure.

In the real world, so many are dying from COVID-19, so a lot of people are dealing with death in their personal lives. The last thing they want is to turn on the television and see more death. Many viewers want to escape when they sit down and watch a show. Hopefully, it will be a long time before any other characters are killed.

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