Warning! Below are spoilers for the NCIS episode “Big Rig”. Read at your own risk!
It seems that NCIS fans are always excited about the idea of seeing former stars like Michael Weatherly return or Leroy Gibbs show up for another mission, so it’s nice to see a recurring guest star getting a lot of love for a change. Actor Zane Holtz has returned to the CBS series to reprise his role as Special Agent Dale Sawyer, and I’m one of many fans suggesting he stay longer to develop this potential romance with Nick Torres.
Dale Sawyer had a shocking opening scene in “The Big Car,” as his reunion with Nick in a dark alley suggested he was in serious trouble and might even be the prime suspect in a murder case. Although Sawyer disappeared, Nick was able to find him with the help of a NCIS team as part of an FBI deep cover operation. Nick also tried to infiltrate the criminal organization to protect the agent, but his involvement only sounded the alarm and destroyed his and Sawyer’s cover for criminals.
Eventually the situation was resolved and both men survived the incident unharmed. Since both Nick and Sawyer survived to fight another day, let’s delve into their moments in this episode and why CBS absolutely needs to consider giving actor Zane Holtz more appearances in the future as Dale Sawyer.
Torres and Sawyer have an exciting dynamic
It feels like “The Big Rig” was written so that NCIS viewers wouldn’t know if Nick could really trust Dale Sawyer during their last meeting. The positive aspect of this ambiguity is that it has led to a wonderful dynamic between them. The two men bumped heads when Nick finally tracked down Sawyer and was forced to confide in him that he just needed more time to solve the case. Similarly, Sawyer had to accept that Nick would not allow him to remain in hiding alone, and had to tolerate Nick’s continued involvement in the operation unless he wanted it all to be canceled.
While Nick’s power play ended up nearly killing them both, there’s no denying that their back-and-forth dynamics in the episode were exciting. They both equally believe that they know the best way to move forward in a situation, and also do not want to completely give in to the other’s plan.
This, of course, created problems, but when it really came to the fan, both men worked in tandem to catch the fleeing criminals like a well-oiled machine. It almost resembled the peak teams of Torres and Bishop, although without the romantic tension. Only two agents defended the law, which is a prerequisite for many classic Hollywood projects.
Sawyer seems like a natural addition to the NCIS team
Actor Zane Holtz made his debut as Dale Sawyer in the season 18 episode “Punch in the Stomach” and reappeared in season 19 “Fight or Flight”. NCIS seems to love recreating the character, and Sawyer seemed to fit in perfectly with that quiz with the team at the end of the episode. He even brought pizza to the party, which earned the team extra points.
Admittedly, I’m not sure how an agent who now seemingly specializes in deep-cover missions can naturally be included in NCIS episodes on a weekly basis. Perhaps, however, this latest adventure will convince Sawyer that his career choice was wrong, and he will get a job as an agent in the NCIS team. If that had happened, then the appearance of another character like Torres might have caused difficulties, but I think in the long run it was worth it.
Torres needs another team member to be around
I mentioned Ellie Bishop earlier in this article, and while it was mostly for a joke, I didn’t see Torres actually communicating with a character in NCIS on the same level as he did with Sawyer in The Big Setup. Torres definitely has a “lone wolf” character and a lot of sad stories about his life, and I think that while NCIS may not need another love interest to distract from Jimmy and Knight’s charming romance, a best brother like Sawyer can help fill that void in his life. We won’t know for sure until Zane Holtz returns in even more episodes, so let’s hope the writers think the same way.
NCIS airs on CBS(opens in new tab) on Mondays at 21:00 ET. Those who are streaming can also keep up with the series with a Paramount+ subscription and watch some other great shows available for streaming on the platform.