How NCIS Paid Tribute To Reeves After His Death

Spoilers ahead for the second episode of NCIS Season 16.

NCIS ended its fifteenth season on a heartbreaking note, and not just because Vance had been kidnapped as part of an epic cliffhanger. No, before Vance's kidnapping, the NCIS team had to comes to terms with the absences of Abby and Reeves. Tragically, the loss of Reeves was far more permanent than Abby, who left of her own volition to embark on a new leg of her personal journey. Reeves died when somebody attempted to murder Abby, giving his own life and saving her. Now, we're two episodes into Season 16, and NCIS found an unexpected and very touching way of paying tribute to the fallen hero. Nick was in mourning for Reeves for almost the whole entire episode, but he expressed his mourning in a very Nick way.

So, a very emotionally unhealthy way! The tribute began early in the episode when Nick accidentally broke his own sunglasses and seemed way too upset about it for a guy who simply smashed an accessory. The other agents were puzzled by Nick's determination to fix a random pair of sunglasses rather than just go buy another pair of sunglasses, but he would not give up, even getting distracted from a briefing of the case of the week to try and figure out how to repair the shades.

Now, if that had been the only sign that something was going on with Nick, his preoccupation might have been more amusing than troubling. Instead, his fellow agents noticed that something seemed to be physically off with him, and his temper was a lot shorter than usual. When he accompanied Jimmy on a night out to a painting and wine-tasting session -- as one does -- he went off and assaulted a pair of guys who started hassling them after believing that they were a couple.

Nick is no stranger to lashing out, but he usually does so after more provocation and when faced by much worse bad guys than the two randoms in a painting class, even if he did believe that they would be better off with a punch in the face. The fight landed him and Jimmy in jail, with Nick remorseful and still troubled. Gibbs sent Nick to see Jack after the fight; when Nick refused to talk about what was going on, Jack and Gibbs sent him home.

That seemed to be it for Nick's story in this episode until he showed up on on the doorstep of Bishop -- or "Ellie," as Nick called her -- to sadly reveal that he couldn't fix his sunglasses, and she finally learned what was up with Nick all episode: the sunglasses he'd accidentally smashed were a gift from Reeves. Drunk and tearful, Nick told Bishop that his misses his buddy, and she admitted that she misses him too. It was a sweet moment between Nick and Bishop as they remembered their fallen friend, and it proved that Reeves is not forgotten. Abby's departure left the larger hole in the ensemble thanks to her 15 years on the show, but Reeves gave his life and died a hero's death. He deserves a tribute at least as much as Abby, and we can only hope that his friends continue to remember him.

Find out in new episode of NCIS on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on CBS in the fall TV lineup. For more on the second episode of Season 16, check out newcomer Diona Reasonover's thoughts on the super-gross hot tub scene.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).