How NCIS' Heartbreaking Twist Could Change Torres In Season 18 And Beyond


Spoilers ahead for Episode 14 of NCIS Season 18, called "Sangre."

After a brief delay that kept fans hanging for an extra week, NCIS returned with a Torres-centric episode that delved into his past in a way that the show rarely does. His dad, Miguel, turned up in the course of a murder investigation, and he was even a suspect before the reveal that Miguel had been working with the CIA for years. Miguel had also abandoned Torres and the rest of his family 30 years ago, so his return to his son's life was more than a little complicated. And the end result was heartbreak and disappointment for Torres that could change him.

Miguel spent much of "Sangre" trying to convince his son that his reasons for leaving him, his mom, and his sister Lucia were valid, and Torres eventually came around enough to ask his dad to dinner and then to reunite with Lucia and meet his granddaughter, telling Bishop that "it's never too late to start all over again." So, it was heartbreaking (but perhaps not altogether surprising) when Torres showed up at his dad's hotel to pick him up for dinner, only to discover that Miguel had skipped town again despite agreeing to spending time with his family.

Instead of spending the night catching up with his dad, Torres dealt with the disappointment by dropping by Gibbs' house, with really excellent timing as Gibbs was finishing grilling a steak in his fireplace. (Way to make the most of your suspension, Gibbs!) Gibbs immediately cut the steak in two and told Torres to start eating, amiably agreeing that he was fine with Torres not wanting to talk about his dad. So, what does this heartbreaking twist of more abandonment and the aftermath mean for Torres, moving forward in what's left of Season 18 and – thanks to CBS finally handing down the renewal – Season 19?

Well, if not for the final scene of Torres looking at peace at Gibbs' place, I might have worried that his father's latest abandonment burned him on trusting any attachments at all and he'd start pulling back from his friends and colleagues at NCIS. Instead, I took his expression to mean more that he realizes Gibbs is more of a father figure than Miguel ever was and that's enough for him now. Even if his real dad has abandoned him yet again, he still has his found family at NCIS.

I could be wrong, and even in my best-case scenario I can imagine Torres being pretty justifiably bitter about what his dad did, but this episode didn't end with Torres alone and miserable. He sought out a friend and found companionship, and that's not necessarily something he would have done in past seasons. His optimistic statement that it's never too late "to start all over again" could be reflected in more of his relationships, unless his dad leaving burned him on that.

In light of some recent comments from Wilmer Valderrama about a big moment that's on the way for Torres and Bishop, it's possible that starting over could come up between them. The actor teased that Torres and Bishop are coming to a crossroads, but he didn't drop any details other than that the big moment is coming soon. It's worth noting that assuming "soon" means Season 18, then that the big moment will come in the next two episodes. Due to the production complications of the 2020-2021 TV season, the episode count for NCIS Season 18 was cut down to 16.

See what happens next with Gibbs' future at NCIS (now that Mark Harmon's future at the show is confirmed despite earlier uncertainty) with the next new episode of NCIS on Tuesday, May 4 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

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. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. 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).