NCIS’ Knight & Palmer Relationship Breaks A 16-Year Series Tradition


While NCIS is not a romantic show per se, it has been known to feature dramatic romantic relationships – with one between Jessica Knight and Jimmy Palmer breaking over a decade of series tradition. As with any police show, the interpersonal relationships between the characters are what make the show so likable, and NCIS is no different. The characters each have significant moments throughout the season, and Jessica Knight herself has many great moments in season 21. NCIS is known for being intense and captivating, but a key aspect of this is the romantic relationships laced throughout the show.

NCIS has featured a handful of romantic relationships throughout its long run, but the most memorable relationships have been the ones between the main characters on the NCIS team. The show has been on the air for over 20 years, which has given it plenty of time and opportunities to delve deeper into the personal lives of its main characters. A popular relationship in season 21 has been the one between Dr. Jimmy Palmer and Jessica Knight, who sadly might exit next season. However, despite their popularity, the pair also broke the mold for NCIS characters.

Knight & Palmer Don’t Follow NCIS’ Typical Approach To Relationships

They Have A Sweet Relationship That Differs From The Rest

Palmer and Knight first met in NCIS season 18 when Knight joined the team as a special agent. The relationship between the pair starts off as friends, but after developing feelings for one another, the two of them start dating at the end of season 19. While relationships between colleagues are nothing new for NCIS, Knight and Palmer are the only major NCIS relationship that isn’t a slow burn.

The pair officially started dating only about a year after meeting for the first time, which does not seem like a long time but is unusual for NCIS relationships.

The start of the couple’s relationship coincides with Gibbs’ departure from the series. This may be a coincidence or it may be out of respect for Gibbs’ rule to never date a coworker, at least in front of him. The relationship reached its romantic climax in the season 20 episode “Kompromat” when the two are publicly affectionate in front of their colleagues for the first time. The pair officially started dating only about a year after meeting for the first time, which does not seem like a long time but is unusual for NCIS relationships.

NCIS’ Major Relationships Over The Past 16 Years Have All Been Slow Burns

Other Relationships Have Lasted Years Before Becoming Official

The first major NCIS relationship started in season 3 between Ziva David and Tony DiNozzo. Their slow-burn romance set the precedent for future NCIS couples and was upheld for 16 years until season 18 introduced the beginning of Knight and Palmer’s relationship. Ziva and Tony’s relationship in particular is an example of a tormenting, slow-burn romance as their union remained a mystery for 15 years as a result of uncertainty and secrecy. This story is set to continue in the upcoming Tony & Ziva spinoff.

Another major relationship was between Nick Torres and Ellie Bishop. The couple met in season 14, and they shared multiple flirtatious glances and conversations until Ellie eventually left in season 18. They are another example of a slow-burn relationship within the series, the next one among main characters after Ziva and Tony. While they never officially got together, they remain a slow-burn couple because of the precedent set by Ziva and Tony. The only hope for an official coupling is for Ellie to return to the NCIS team, but for now, the relationship remains unresolved.

Why NCIS Season 22 Needs To Keep Palmer And Knight Together

There’s No Justified Reason To Break Up Palmer And Knight

At the end of NCIS season 21, Knight decided to take her dream job even though it would mean leaving Alden Parker’s Major Case Response Team (MCRT). Granted that the show didn’t fully confirm her leaving, but assuming that the police procedural goes through with this, then she and Palmer’s days of being in a relationship may really be over, especially after he initially freaked out about the news. That being said, regardless of what lies ahead for Knight, NCIS is better off keeping them together, even if that means that they have to carry out a long-distance relationship.

As previously mentioned, NCIS isn’t exactly a romantic show, but as with many procedurals — particularly long-running ones, the personal lives of its MCRT ensemble have become integral to its storytelling. Arguably, it’s the viewers’ investment in their arcs outside of work that keeps them invested for an extended period. Palmer has gone through so many losses in the last several years, it would be a shame to see him lose another shot at love just because Knight is moving across the country. They clearly love each other, and there’s no reason why they can’t make a long-distance set-up work.

Considering how quickly the pair’s relationship progressed, particularly by NCIS standards, it suggests that there’s a strong connection between Knight and Palmer. As seen in the show’s history, this is very difficult to come by. Even with Tony and Ziva, who are arguably star-crossed lovers, NCIS couldn’t just bring them together, leaving fans to wait until NCIS: Tony & Ziva for the couple’s full-blown romance. The CBS franchise shouldn’t waste the good thing between Knight and Palmer for the sake of drama because the show has had lots of it for so many years.

Will Jessica Knight Really Leave In NCIS Season 22

Katrina Law Remains Mum About Her Potential Exit

NCIS has seen its fair share of character departures. Despite being its main female character, Kate Todd was brutally murdered in the season 2 finale by Ari Haswari. NCIS season 21 didn’t have any original characters left, and yet, the show will move forward. This indicates that even if Knight ends up leaving, work at MCRT will continue. Somehow, this makes the police procedural exciting because it keeps the stakes high for all members of the ensemble. Despite Knight’s decision in the NCIS season 21 finale, it’s difficult to say that she will really be permanently gone.

Katrina Law hasn’t expressed any kind of intention to leave the show. Knight’s story has barely been explored in NCIS, and writing her out means that the project will lose a wealth of storytelling opportunities. So, instead of a full exit, Knight may spend some time in her new job and ultimately decide to come back to MCRT after realizing that it may no longer be what she’s looking for. For what it’s worth, NCIS has done so many of these types of storylines in the past that it shouldn’t really be that big of a deal now.