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Wilmer Valderrama talks "NCIS" franchise's 1,000th episode, show's enduring legacy

Wilmer Valderrama on historic "NCIS" episode
Wilmer Valderrama talks celebrating historic 1,000th episode of "NCIS" 04:10

As the "NCIS" franchise celebrates a remarkable milestone of 1,000 episodes, "NCIS" star Wilmer Valderrama said the show's consistency in delivering gripping storylines is why it has survived the test of time.

The show and its spinoffs, renowned for its thrilling investigations and dedicated teams, has become a cornerstone of television drama. Valderrama said the foundational work laid by the original "NCIS" cast, particularly actor Mark Harmon, was instrumental in transitioning "NCIS" from a couple of episodes on the classic CBS drama "JAG" to a standalone hit.

"I mean, it's crazy to be at the tail end of that, you know, the last half of that, right? You got to kind of pay tribute to the original cast who started this thing," said Valderrama. "A thousand episodes later, and it's not slowing down."

In the 1,000th episode, the whole NCIS family is under attack. Valderrama's character, special agent Nick Torres, plays a crucial role in this landmark episode, a testament to the show's core of protecting those who serve.

"This show became really a tribute to the men and women who wear that uniform," said Valderrama.

In addition to the "NCIS" milestone, Valderrama wrote a new memoir, "An American Story," which explores his journey to success and the sacrifices made by his family.

"Here's two things that you rarely do when you become an adult: you relive your days as a kid and realize the planning and effort that actually made your current life possible," he reflected. "Reliving your parents sacrifice as an adult is something we've never took pause and looked back to. When I saw like everything my mother went through ... reliving that sacrifice made me really humbled. What it took to get me to where I am."

The memoir, which will be released on Sept. 17, pays tribute to the realization of his dreams against all odds.

Fans can catch the milestone episode of "NCIS" on Monday, April 15,  on CBS and Paramount+.

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