Independent Journal

NCIS Season 21 Premiere Recap: Torres Resigns, Ducky Dies, and a New Case Begins

The long-running CBS drama NCIS returned for its 21st season on Monday, February 12, with a gripping premiere that left fans on the edge of their seats.

The episode, titled “The End of the Beginning”, followed the aftermath of the season 20 finale, where Special Agent Nick Torres (Wilmer Valderrama) was seen pointing a gun at a man from his past who had terrorized his family.

NCIS Season 21 Premiere Recap: Torres Resigns, Ducky Dies, and a New Case Begins
Image credit: CBS

The premiere revealed that the man was Maurice Riva, a former associate of Reymundo De Leon, a notorious drug lord who had kidnapped and tortured Torres and his family when he was a child. Torres was arrested for Riva’s murder, but later cleared when it was discovered that Riva was actually killed by De Leon’s mother, who wanted revenge for her son’s death.

Torres, however, was deeply affected by the incident and decided to resign from NCIS, leaving his team and his potential love interest, Jessica Knight (Katrina Law), in shock. Torres’ departure also marked the end of an era for NCIS, as he was the last remaining original cast member of the show.

The episode also set the stage for an emotional storyline involving the passing of NCIS medical examiner Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard, played by the late David McCallum, who died in September 2023. The next episode, titled “The Stories We Leave Behind”, will be a tribute to Ducky/McCallum, co-written by Brian Dietzen, who plays Jimmy Palmer, and executive producer Scott Williams.

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The episode will feature the agents finding comfort in working on one of Ducky’s unfinished cases, involving a woman whose father was dishonorably discharged from the Marines. The case will also connect to the theme of the stories we leave behind, as the agents reflect on their memories of Ducky and his legacy.

NCIS Season 21 Premiere: A Shocking Murder, A Heartbreaking Farewell, And A New Era
Image credit: CBS

Executive producers Steven D. Binder and David North said in a statement that the episode “includes a touching and special moment you won’t want to miss.” They also praised McCallum’s contribution to the show, saying, “And true to Ducky’s meticulous and compassionate nature, even after he’s gone, he still manages to solve one last crime with the team.”

How to watch NCIS season 21

NCIS season 21 will continue with new episodes featuring Sean Murray as Timothy McGee, Gary Cole as Alden Parker, Katrina Law as Jessica Knight, and Brian Dietzen as Jimmy Palmer. The show airs on Mondays at 9 p.m. EST/PST on CBS and is also available for streaming on Paramount+.

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