CBS Made a Powerful Statement on Deportations With This Week’s Episode of ‘NCIS’

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Across red states, blue states, purple states, and non-voting overseas territories, there is one thing that still unites Americans of all stripes: NCIS. Alright – perhaps that’s a slight exaggeration, but CBS’s award-winning police procedural has consistently roped in close to 20 million viewers over the past seven seasons, while easily holding down a spot in the top three highest-rated broadcasts on TV.

Which is to say that when NCIS wants to make a statement, a lot of people are going to hear it. And that’s precisely what happened this past Tuesday when the show’s writers introduced a timely, immigration-themed plot for the episode “Home of the Brave.” Penned by the series’ Mexican-American co-executive producer Gina Lucita Monreal, the episode spotlights the fictional but all-too-familiar story of a US Marine Corps vet who is found to be undocumented after he witnesses a murder.

Over one hour, investigators Torres and Bishop (played by Wilmer Valderrama and Emily Wickersham, respectively,) debate the ethics of turning the former soldier over to ICE, especially after they learn that he lost his green card due to a bureaucratic technicality. Valderrama, who has been a vocal immigration advocate, obviously felt a special connection to the story, and he has spoken openly about the importance of these conversations.

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

Sure, it probably won’t have much effect on the man taking over the Oval Office in January, but it’s an important gesture in the ongoing battle for hearts and minds. La lucha sigue y sigue.

Watch NCIS’ “Home of the Brave” episode in its entirety on