What Happened to Jimmy’s Wife Breena? How Did She Die in NCIS?

The twentieth season of CBS’ thriller seriesNCIS’ follows Jimmy Palmer’s efforts to build a relationship with his colleague Jessica Knight. As a couple who has just started to share their lives, Jimmy and Jessica try to overcome the awkwardness that revolves around sharing the same workspace. The fourth episode of the season depicts Jimmy’s successful efforts to deal with the presence of Jessica’s ex-boyfriend. As they captivate fans’ hearts, one must be wondering what really happened to Breena Palmer, Jimmy’s wife. Since we haven’t seen Michelle Pierce’s character for a while, you must be eager to know the reason behind the same. Well, here’s everything you need to know! SPOILERS AHEAD.

What Happened to Jimmy’s Wife Breena? How Did She Die?

Jimmy and Breena meet each other in the seventh season of the show. Since Breena is a mortician and Jimmy is a medical examiner, the common presence of death in their lives brings them closer, ultimately paving the way for their marital union. Although they initially try to adopt a child, Breena eventually gets pregnant and gives birth to Victoria Elizabeth Palmer. The togetherness of their family meets a dead end when Breena dies in the show’s eighteenth season.

Image Credit: Sonja Flemming/CBS

Breena dies due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in December 2020, after she and Jimmy celebrate their last Christmas together in the same year. Due to the disease, she slips into a coma and stays alive in support of a ventilator before finally succumbing to the deadly virus. Since protocols don’t allow Jimmy to be near her, he fails to see her one last time before her death. Due to the nature of the infectious disease, Breena doesn’t get a public funeral but Leroy Jethro Gibbs arranges a memorial to honor her memory at the NCIS office.

Breena’s death was conceived to address the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in the show. “The producers let me know that we want the advent of COVID to hit our [NCIS] team. And yet, we don’t want to lose a team member. So the prospect of having Jimmy lose his wife, the most optimistic team member lose someone, came to the table and they thought it would be a great storytelling mechanic – albeit very, very sad,” Brian Dietzen, who plays Jimmy in the show, explained the reason behind Breena’s death to ET Online, which also paved the way for Michelle Pierce’s exit from the show.

Image Credit: Sonja Flemming/CBS

Although Breena is dead, it doesn’t mean that the character is gone for good from the show. In the thirteenth episode of the nineteenth season, Jimmy passes out due to accidental exposure to a deadly biotoxin and has a vision of Breena. “One of the big reasons why I wanted to put this [scene] in there was because Jimmy never got to say goodbye to his wife [Breena] on-camera, and the audience never got to see her and say goodbye either,” Brian Dietzen explained the origin of the scene to TVLine. “I wanted to have Michelle back to the set, and she wanted to come as well,” he added.

Jimmy’s vision of Breena is an indication that the latter can still feature in ‘NCIS’ through Jimmy and Victoria’s visions or dreams in the future. As Jimmy starts a new chapter of his life with Jessica, he may try to completely move on from the memories of Breena, which may pave the way for more visions or thoughts that feature his late wife. If that’s the case, we will see Michelle’s character again in the action series.

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