Leon Vance, played by Rocky Carroll, has been Director of NCIS ever since the end of Season 5, and while most of his duties are carried out from behind a desk, occasionally he finds himself thrust back into action, be it voluntarily or unwillingly. The latter occurred in the Season 15 finale, when Vance was kidnapped by Nigel Hakim, one of the men who held Jack Sloane captive in Afghanistan and who blames Vance for interfering in his operations years ago. However, NCIS fans can rest easy knowing that Vance will not be killed off, because Brian Dietzen, who plays Jimmy Palmer, says that after Vance is rescued in the upcoming 16th season, we'll be exploring more of his personal life. As Dietzen put it:
Granted, NCIS is no Game of Thrones, but the show has still built up a high body count over the years, including several members of the main cast, like Duane Henry's Clayton Reeves. Nevertheless, while the specific details surrounding Leon Vance's rescue are understandably being kept under wraps, as Brian Dietzen informed me during a recent interview, we'll spend some time looking in on Vance at home interacting with his daughter. Given how Vance looked on Nigel Hakim's plane in the final seconds of "Date with Destiny," no doubt he hasn't been treated with kid gloves during his months of captivity, so he'll need time to recover once he's free. While he does that, we can see him make up for lost time with his daughter, Kayla, and possibly his son, Jared, too.
This won't be the first time that we've peeked in on Leon Vance's life outside of the NCIS offices. Every now and then the show has peeked in on Vance's interactions with his family, including when Vance's wife Jackie was tragically killed in the Season 10 episode "Shabbat Shalom," the same episode that Ziva David's father, Eli, died. Since Jackie's death, Vance has done his best raising his two children, and as evidenced in Season 15's "Family Ties," he still deals with parental challenges. NCIS will always be primarily focused on the main characters solving U.S. Navy and Marine Corps-related crimes, but it's nice when the show carves out time here and there to show what these characters do when they're not enforcing the law. Vance had dealt with a lot onscreen for a decade, but being kidnapped by a terrorist mastermind definitely ranks among the worst experiences, so it will be interesting to see the aftermath of that and how it bleeds into Vance's personal and professional lives.
NCIS Season 16 premieres Tuesday, September 25 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS, but if you're interested in watching/re-watching Season 15, the DVD collection is now available. You can also check out our fall TV premiere schedule to learn when your favorite shows are returning.
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