Movie Reviews

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


  • NCIS features memorable romantic relationships between main characters, breaking series tradition.
  • Jessica Knight and Jimmy Palmer’s relationship differs from the slow-burn romances seen in past seasons.
  • The departure of Mark Harmon’s Gibbs coincides with Knight and Palmer’s public romance in season 20.

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.


NCIS: Palmer & Knight’s Relationship Breaks A Huge Gibbs Rule

NCIS season 19 ended with Palmer and Knight entering a relationship. However, this breaks one of Gibbs’ most important rules: never date a coworker.

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

They Have A Sweet Relationship That Differs From The Rest

Jessica Knight resting her head on Jimmy Palmer's shoulder in NCIS

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

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.

The cast of NCIS season 20 walks forward above show title in promotional poster


NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service) focuses on the sometimes complex and always amusing dynamics of a team forced to work together in high-stress situations. Special Agent Alden Parker, a quirky former FBI agent who solves his cases with calm professionalism and sharp, sarcastic charm, leads the NCIS team, which includes NCIS Special Agent Timothy McGee, an MIT graduate with a knack for computers who has now graduated to senior field agent; the charismatic, unpredictable and resilient NCIS Special Agent Nicholas “Nick” Torres, who has spent most of his career on solo undercover assignments; and sharp, athletic and tough NCIS Special Agent Jessica Knight, a formidable REACT agent who specializes in hostage negotiations and high-risk operations. The naïve Jimmy Palmer is assisting the team, who graduated from assistant to fully licensed medical examiner and now runs the morgue; and forensic scientist Kasie Hines, Ducky’s former graduate assistant. Overseeing operations is NCIS Director Leon Vance, an intelligent, highly trained agent who can always be counted on to shake up the status quo. From murder and espionage to terrorism and stolen submarines, these special agents investigate all crimes with Navy or Marine Corps ties.

sean murray , Wilmer Valderrama , Katrina Law , Brian Dietzen , david mccallum , Mark Harmon , Rocky Carroll , Gary Cole , Joe Spano


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