Wilmer Valderrama spills all on his return to NCIS

'It was important to me that the audience question whether they like me or not'
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After 20 years in Hollywood, Wilmer Valderrama began searching for a “different” role to sink his teeth into. But, surprisingly, NCIS wasn’t what he had in mind.

The 38-year-old, best known as Fez in That ’70s Show, insists he passed up several opportunities to join a US crime drama.

“Honestly, I didn’t want to do a procedural at all,” he tells TV WEEK.

“A lot of those shows just cover the case of the week and it can become quite predictable, so I turned a lot of them [offers] down.

Wilmer as detective Nick Torres

“But NCIS isn’t like that; it’s a success for a reason. I was given an opportunity to take the show to a place the audience hasn’t seen – that’s what drew me in.”

Since his arrival in 2016, the American actor has divided NCIS fans as brooding detective Nick Torres. But that’s the way Wilmer intended it.

“It was very important to me, especially after the huge exit of Michael Weatherly [who played Detective Tony DiNozzo], that the audience question whether they like me or not,” he says.

“It’s a social experiment for the character and the audience.”

Tom, Nick and Clayton in NCIS.

As the new season kicks off, Wilmer hints that darkness is looming for his character.

“He had softened up a lot and become more of a team member towards the end of last season,” Wilmer says.

“But the death of Clayton [Duane Henry] is going to trigger [Nick’s] past and send him to a bad place,”

“He will become more heavy-handed and break the rules in order to deliver punishment to the bad guys. Not even his team members will be able to hold him back.”

NCIS airs Sundays at 9pm on Network Ten.

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