Spoiler alert! Wilmer Valderrama is explaining why his character "Nick Torres" is the way he is.
Wilmer Valderrama on "Nick Torres"
NCIS star Wilmer Valderrama opened up to Entertainment Tonight about his beloved character "Nick Torres". In the latest episode, "Sangre," we met "Nick's" deadbeat dad and learn about "Nick's" abandonment issues.
Wilmer explained, "We've been bread-crumbing a lot of what Torres is to this team and who he is for years now," and that the writers wanted to have an entire episode dedicated to his character's story.
Wilmer explained that "Torres" tends to keep people at arm's length and rarely opens up emotionally because he doesn't "trust many people. The only people he really knows to put his trust in is his team because he knows that they’ve been through worse together somehow."
It turns out that he is this way because his father "Miguel Torres" abandoned him and his mother when he was 5-years-old, taking what money they had left and telling young "Nick" he would be back. Ultimately, that was the last time he saw his father until now.
NCIS: "Nick Torres" and Heartbreak
Wilmer had discussed with writers what direction they would take "Torres" to explain why he stayed undercover for so long. Maybe his father-less childhood "is a beacon that really led him into a world of undercover work and allowed him to capture the bad guy, and being emotionally unavailable because he never had that permission."
Wilmer became even more excited when they decided "OK, we're going to catch his dad." It was even Wilmer himself who helped choose who would play his father. He had worked with actor Steven Bauer before, playing his son in a pilot for a different series.
"Nick" learns a lot about his father in the latest episode who had left because of "Miguel's" ties to the CIA. "The truth is that for Torres, he’s been hanging on to how things were literally and emotionally at home, and not understanding the pain his father possibly went through. But also for his father to not understand the pain that him and his mother even went through, I think that was a big revelation."
Sadly for "Torres", this heartbreak was essential for his character, "It's a big moment and a big iconic moment for Torres to really understand what sacrifices were made back then for the possibility of him being a man who he could be or he could grow up to be. When he looks at the new information, it’s like he doesn’t want to believe it. He still wants to be mad because he’s talking about 30 years of being mad at somebody."
This was a big risk for his character, Wilmer explained this revelation as "'Hey, I can't just undo that hate, it almost deconstructs who I am.'" "Nick's" whole perception of what a father is was destroyed and twisted and through that, a surprise happened to "Torres". "I think Gibbs (Mark Harmon) has accidentally become the father that Torres never had. This team of NCIS also became accidentally the family he never had."
Sadly this heartbreak of being let down by his father might change "Torres" negatively. The That '70s Show star said, "In the last couple of years, you've seen Torres softening up a little bit and being more of a positive team member, and about his teammates, and about having each other's backs. In this episode, you really see it come to a dramatic halt. When Torres walks into the hotel room, what does that mean when his father is not there? It's almost a confirmation of everything that Torres was before, it's a confirmation that maybe he should go back to who he was before."
When his father agrees to have dinner with his family and bails out without telling "Torres" his mind thought, "'Maybe this is why I went undercover for so long. This is why I wasn’t emotionally attached to anything. That’s why I trained myself to not be at one place for too long, to become anything but me to get the bad guy.'"
Wilmer is honest that this episode has serious repercussions for his character, "That is going to do a number on him, and something fractured and broke in Torres. You're going to see that play out."
Will "Bishop" and "Torres" Finally Get Together?
On top of all that, "Torres" and "Bishop" (Emily Wickersham) have been achingly fighting their feelings for each other and Wilmer can confirm that the fans will finally get the answers we've been waiting for!
Valderrama said, "The fans have seen the seeds of a closer and deeper connection between the two of them. I think they really, truly have a very special and honest relationship. They can trust each other. They know they're not emotionally available to one another or to the world."
Their relationship has had such a "slow burn" because they both have very similar issues when it comes to opening up. Apparently, "They just don't really know how to be in a relationship. You wear the badge for that long and you give yourself to service, and then when it's time to do something for yourself, it's really hard to do that. For 'Bishop', the few times that she's tried to be emotionally available has really backfired for her. The same thing for 'Torres'. Most of his relationships were part of an undercover scheme for him to get the bad guy."
"It's hard for them to really know how to make a square fit in the triangle. It's this Tetris. They're playing Tetris with their minds and they don't really know where they fit with one another. But I will tell you, this is the season you'll find out!"
It's great news for NCIS fans who have been waiting on the edge of their seats! He told Entertainment Tonight, "There's something exciting that you can explore the psychology of both of them or where they come from. Whatever the fans have been wondering about, what it really is, what it isn't, they’re going to get their answers this season…"