‘NCIS’: Is Jimmy Palmer’s Marriage in Trouble?

During NCIS Season 17, Episode 15, we see Jimmy Palmer (Brian Deitzen) hit a snag in his relationship with his wife, Breena. As you likely know by now, NCIS rarely mentions something just for filler. There’s usually significance behind small details mentioned in each episode. We hope we’re wrong, but it looks like something bad might be brewing in Jimmy and Breena’s marriage. Here’s why Jimmy and Breena’s relationship could be headed for trouble.

Jimmy and Breena planned a romantic getaway for Valentine’s Day

Pauley Perrette, Brian Dietzen, and Michelle Pierce |  Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images
Pauley Perrette, Brian Dietzen, and Michelle Pierce | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images

In season 17, episode 15 (titled “Lonely Hearts), Jimmy is in a rush to finish his job and leave the crime scene the team is investigating. Torres notices and comments on Jimmy’s behavior. He says he’s rushing because he wants to go away with his wife, Breena, for a special Valentine’s Day trip. “The in-laws have Victoria, so Breena and I are going to be going off for Valentine’s,” Jimmy explains. “She got us a hotel room. You know, after seven years of marriage, you gotta keep things fresh. You need some champagne, some chocolate-dipped strawberries…” Before Jimmy could finish his thought, Gibbs interrupts him to request the time of the victim’s death.

Jimmy and Breena’s Valentine’s Day plans fall through

Brian Dietzen on the set of NCIS |  Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images
Brian Dietzen on the set of NCIS | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images

Later in episode 15, we learn Breena and Jimmy won’t be going on that romantic trip after all. Since Jimmy has to work overtime to help Gibbs and the team solve a complicated murder case, he will have to stay put. “I’m so sorry this happened, my darling,” says Jimmy during a phone call with Breena. “You know if I could change it I would. Just know that I love you, OK?” he adds. He later tells McGee that Breena wasn’t happy with the change of plans. We doubt this is the first time something like this has happened. Will Jimmy and Breena’s work schedules be the death of their marriage? It’s quite possible.

The late NCIS showrunner Gary Glasberg once said in an interview with CBS that divorce happens all the time in this industry. “It’s a very stressful situation; careers go in different directions,” said Glasberg. Breena is a mortician and Jimmy is a medical examiner, so they have very hectic schedules. This likely puts a lot of strain on their relationship.

Work has been stressful for Jimmy

Brian Dietzen and Diona Reasonover | Michael Yarish/CBS via Getty Images
Brian Dietzen and Diona Reasonover | Michael Yarish/CBS via Getty Images

Work is starting to consume Jimmy and devour his time. During NCIS season 17, episode 13, (titled “Sound Off”), he is clearly overwhelmed. At the beginning of the episode, he enters the area where Torres, Bishop, and McGee are sitting and vents about how exhausted he is. “Can I just vent?” asks Jimmy. “Dr. Mallard retired. And ever since he became the official NCIS historian I have been doing the work of two people.” Now that Jimmy is the only medical examiner, the entire workload is his. Ducky retired and is now the NCIS historian, so Palmer must handle cases on his own.

Is Jimmy bringing his work stress home each night? The pressure at work could cause him to become less present and less emotionally available to Breena. Perhaps the reason they planned this Valentine’s Day trip was so they could reconnect and repair the toll their jobs have been taking on their marriage. Now that the opportunity was lost because of Jimmy’s schedule, things could begin to go downhill from here.