The NCIS family is grieving for "Dr. Jimmy Palmer" in today's new episode. Ahead of the Feb. 9 episode, a preview revealed that "Palmer" (Brian Dietzen) has lost his wife "Breena" to COVID-19.

NCIS handles the tragedy in a fast-forward storyline, as season 18 has now jumped ahead to the pandemic, where "Breena" has died. The preview showed "Kasie" and "Gibbs" discussing concern for how "Palmer" is behaving following the loss.

NCIS: "Palmer" actor Brian Dietzen on death of wife "Breena"

Today, actor Brian Dietzen spoke to ET about the shocking turn of events for his NCIS character, "Dr. Jimmy Palmer." In the interview, the star said "Palmer" will be telling himself that he's "doing really great" after his wife's death, but that "the audience can see that that may not be the case."

Diezten said of his character: "He's doing whatever he can just keep his head above water. But there's only so long that that can happen before there's going to be a certain breaking point." The veteran NCIS star also explained that what he "didn't want to see with 'Jimmy Palmer' was for him to lose his eternal optimism because of something like this."

But exploring his grieving and the pandemic—with the NCIS team—will form the basis of episodes throughout this season, according to Dietzen. "Torres certainly grieves a heck of a lot differently and so does Gibbs than would McGee or Bishop," he said. "All of them, seeing their confusion on how to try and help Jimmy, who's going to be the best person to actually speak with him about it, is also a big part of this show."

NCIS season 18 episode 7 airs today, Feb. 9

The tragic new episode of NCIS airs tonight on CBS. In one preview, "Kasie" was seen expressing concern to "Gibbs" about "Palmer" after he reveals to viewers that "Breena" died from COVID-19.

"Breena Palmer" had been played by actress Michelle Pierce in several episodes, most recently in 2015. For a recap of the latest episode, see how season 18 episode 6 went down here.