Jimmy Palmer (Brian Dietzen) sees dead people. Jimmy's duty as the Chief Medical Examiner on NCIS is to not only view dead individuals but to occasionally converse with them.
Hey, it's part of his process and helps him do a good job. This is also why he almost married Breena (Michelle Pierce), whom he met in Season 7.
Breena worked as a mortician at her family's funeral parlor. She and Jimmy both understood that the dead deserved to be remembered. They would eventually marry and have a daughter, but Jimmy would lose Breena in Season 18.
And, even though he's now ready to go on, we're caught in the past. What became Jimmy Palmer's wife? What we know about Breena's death is as follows.
How Did Jimmy Palmer’s Wife Die?
According to Distractify, Palmer announced to his coworkers on season 18, episode 7 — which aired in 2021 — that his wife Breena died after getting Covid-19. Although Breena's death was not depicted onscreen, Palmer stated that he and his family were doing their best to cope with the tragedy.
Following the terrible news the same year, Brian Dietzen, who plays Palmer on NCIS, revealed some details about how he learned about Breena's death in an interview with Entertainment Tonight. Dietzen told the publication that at the time, producers sought to raise awareness about COVID-19 by having one of the characters get it and then die from it.
However, because the producers did not want a prominent cast member to suffer the awful destiny, they concocted another plan and ran it past Dietzen. He stated,
“Before I read this script, I was told that this would happen, that Jimmy would lose his wife… The producers informed me that we want COVID-19 to be introduced to our crew. Nonetheless, we do not want to lose a team member. So the idea of Jimmy losing his wife, the most optimistic team member, came up, and they thought that would be a terrific storytelling mechanic — but very, very sad.”
When the conversation turned to how Palmer handled the tragedy, Dietzen stated that the character did his best to remain optimistic, especially given the couple's child. Despite Palmer's upbeat exterior, Dietzen believes the character will reach a breaking point.
“When a person loses a spouse and has a child, there is a period when all you want to do is keep this ship afloat.” We can see on this week's episode that Jimmy is attempting to hold on to whatever happiness he can, saying, “Hey, my glass is half full here.”
I'm doing incredibly well,' yet we as the viewer can see that this may not be the reality, and his crew can see it as well because they know and love him. He's doing everything he can to keep his head above water. But there's only so long that can go on before there's a moment where it's too much.”
That tipping point came in season 18, episode 7, when Leroy Gibbs (Mark Harmon) confronted Palmer and the two had a meaningful conversation about his troubles following his wife's death.
Several topics were discussed during the meeting, including the couple's final moments together and Palmer's letter to Breena, which she didn't get a chance to read. Palmer's recovery process began the same episode when he read the letter aloud to his coworkers.
Palmer would find love again years after Breena's death, this time with special agent Jessica Knight (Katrina Law) toward the end of the 19th season of NCIS after the two went on multiple coffee dates and Palmer took Knight to her friend's wedding.