Several members of the NCIS team were in peril at the end of last month’s season finale, but regardless of how it all pans out, it looks like we’ll be seeing a lot more of Jimmy Palmer.
EW has learned exclusively that Brian Dietzen has been promoted to series regular on the show, which is going into its 10th season. He was formerly appearing on a recurring basis as the right-hand man to medical examiner Donald “Ducky” Mallard (David McCallum). “I’m very excited,” Dietzen tells EW. “After eight years of being with the show, I got a contract with CBS, and I couldn’t be happier about it.”
The promotion, says Dietzen, could very well indicate Palmer’s increased responsibilities next year — especially in light of Ducky’s heart attack in the season finale. Palmer’s whereabouts were also not entirely clear in the finale. Last viewers saw, he was planning to abandon his big wedding plans and head back to D.C. in order to help the team. “As far as I know I’m safe, and a contract is a good thing to indicate that,” he says.
Another bonus? Dietzen will finally join his castmates in the opening credits next year — a move that will please some longtime NCIS fans, who have often questioned his absence. “I believe this year my name will be up at the front of the credits with everyone else, so we’ll have the full team at the front,” he says. “[For my featured shot], I’m hoping I can put on a wig with some long hair and run topless across the beach — something subtle but still classy.”