'NCIS' Season 17 Finale: Christopher Lloyd's 'moving performance' brings fans to tears

Lloyd joined 'The Arizona' as a WWII veteran who claims to have served at Pearl Harbour and just wanted recognition for his service under his brother's name.

                            'NCIS' Season 17 Finale: Christopher Lloyd's 'moving performance' brings fans to tears
Christopher Lloyd (CBS)

Spoilers for 'NCIS' Season 17 Episode 20 'The Arizona'

This season of 'NCIS' just signed off with a powerful nod at war veterans who were left unacknowledged despite their gallant service in their time. And while the episode was made touching by a WWII navy vet who just wanted his ashes spread on the USS Arizona, according to fans, Christopher Lloys playing the veteran Joe Smith made everything better with his 'moving performance' that left everyone 'in tears'. 

Lloyd appeared in tonight's episode (April 14) as a 95-year-old veteran who stole a Purple Heart with much sentimental value from an Admiral who refused to grant his dying wishes. According to the official synopsis, "The team attempts to verify the identity of Joe Smith (Lloyd), who claims that he has served in the USS Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbor.”

Smith's dying wishes were to have his ashes spread across the USS Arizona, so the aged navy hero did whatever he could to ensure he was laid to rest with the only family he had ever known, but that was impossible for the Admiral to do without any obvious proof of his service. Smith stealing the Admiral's late daughter's Purple Heart might have been the emotional factor in the episode, but Lloyd's performance as the troubled veteran suffering from dementia, aching to prove his service to the nation is not only a telling depiction of Lloyd's skills, but also leaves one moved.

Smith claims he had served under his brother's name as he himself was too young to enlist, and while everybody thinks this is a shady attempt at fake recognition, Gibbs thinks otherwise and forms an uncanny bond with the man. Despite a lack of DNA and photographic evidence, it is only when Smith dies that an autopsy reveals shrapnel in his body, thus verifying his claims. And as his dying wishes were fulfilled, fans were left in tears with the sheer conviction Lloyd essayed in this character, which has them convinced that he deserves an Emmy for guest-starring in this finale.

Taking to Twitter, a fan shared: "If Christopher Lloyd doesn't win an #Emmy for this episode of NCIS I'll never watch TV again."

Another fan agreed, noting: "Wow what a moving perfomance (sic) by Christopher Lloyd I was in tears. Emmy winning... Thank You all."

A third fan noted how heavy on the feelings the finale got and shared: "Christopher Lloyd relating Joe's experience on the Arizona... also, Jack playing Gibbs to get him to get Joe to talk about it. You're killing me with the feels! Although, Vance's excitement at Joe's vindication helped."

Another viewer channeled all their emotion into a tweet, sharing: "I'm not crying, much. That was a very very special episode. I am ready to watch it again. Thank you to all, the writer, director, Christopher Lloyd, Mark Harmon - both who were extraordinary. All the cast and crew. Thank you from the bottom of my heart." And that's how you do a finale, right.

'NCIS' Season 17 Episode 20 'The Arizona' aired on April 14 at 8 pm on CBS.

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