Wilmer Valderrama Shares What It Was Really Like Joining the NCIS Cast

Actor Wilmer Valderrama first gained fame as the quirky exchange student Fez on the Emmy Award-winning sitcom “That ’70s Show,” earning three Teen Choice Awards for his role in 2003, 2005, and 2006, according to IMDb. Since his breakout in the late ’90s, Valderrama has secured a variety of notable roles, transitioning from comedy to more serious performances.

His role on the CBS hit series “NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service” marked a significant shift. Valderrama told People that he sought a role that was “dangerous and explosive,” a stark contrast to the comedic parts that initially defined his career. Although comedy launched him into mainstream success—a medium he admits missing—he finds drama and action equally rewarding.

Upon joining “NCIS” in its 14th season as Special Agent Nicholas “Nick” Torres, Valderrama faced the challenge of integrating into a well-established ensemble cast featuring long-time actors like Michael Weatherly and Sean Murray.

During a 2019 appearance on “Live with Kelly and Ryan,” he described entering the acclaimed series as “tricky and confusing” due to its established success and beloved characters. He emphasized his commitment to developing a character that could introduce fresh storylines and resonate well with the audience.

Valderrama discussed his ease in joining “NCIS” at a 2016 Comic-Con roundtable, as reported by the Daily Actor. He compared the experience to his lengthy tenure on “That ’70s Show,” noting the familiar comfort of joining another longstanding TV family. His goal was to create a “dynamic, different, and colorful” character to sustain interest in the ongoing series.

His portrayal of the unpredictable Special Agent Torres has been well-received over five seasons, showcasing his ability to add new dimensions to the series. In interviews, including one with Entertainment Tonight, Valderrama highlighted the importance of hard work in achieving success on a show as established as “NCIS,” which continues to draw millions of viewers every Tuesday night, as reported by the Los Angeles Times. His efforts to make his character stand out have clearly paid off, adding a unique element to the long-running series.