‘NCIS” Wilmer Valderrama Wants Deportation Storyline to Create ‘Forward Thinking’ Conversation

“I hope that people walk away from this episode with an open mind,” Valderrama tells TheWrap

(Spoiler Alert: Do not keep reading if you have not seen this week’s episode of “NCIS”)

In this week’s “NCIS” a former Marine named Victor Medina (Johnny Rey Diaz) witnesses a murder, only for the team to discover that he is an undocumented immigrant during the course of the investigation.

Torres (Wilmer Valderrama) and Bishop (Emily Wickersham) are sent to escort Medina back to D.C. after he flees, with an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent waiting to take him away for deportation.

The storyline hit home for Valderrama, who himself has advocated for the rights of immigrants in the U.S. for some time, including serving on the board of directors forĀ Voto Latino.

“I think now more than ever we have to put faces to the very combative conversations that are happening as we speak,” Valderrama told TheWrap. “We have to put people in the shoes of someone who is affected by something that you couldn’t possibly relate to.”

As the episode unfolds, we learn about the Marine’s heroism in combat and how a technicality in the immigration system caused him to lose his green card. Torres and Bishop begin to sympathize with his situation, debating the ethics of returning him to the hands of ICE. It is this very debate that Valderrama hoped the episode would create among viewers.

“Hopefully it creates a point of view that is more forward thinking when it comes to decisions that are about to be made in this country,” he said. “There are sectors of this conversation that do not apply to the general conversation about why people are so angry about this…I hope that people walk away from this episode with an open mind.”

As the episode ends, Gibbs (Mark Harmon) does finally hand Medina over to ICE, but promises to put him in touch with a lawyer to help him plead his case.