When Gary Cole joined the NCIS cast for season 19, he inherited Sean Murray’s Timothy McGee as a partner.
Cole’s Alden Parker was the new boss, replacing Mark Harmon’s Gibbs as special agent in charge. And when Gibbs stayed in Alaska last October, it seemed natural that McGee would be Parker’s right-hand man. After all, he’s been around the longest.
Besides, McGee could appreciate Parker’s use of technology. Gibbs was even -averse when it came to fancy phones.
And this wasn’t the first time these two actors crossed paths. Let’s throw it back to 1996, when both appeared in a made-for-TV movie called For My Daughter’s Honor. It was all based on a true story from Taylor, Texas. Let’s just say that Cole didn’t portray a sympathetic character, especially now through a 2022 lens.
Cole played a high school football coach/science teacher who had annual affairs with his female students. In this case, Cole’s Coach Pete Nash carried on with Amy (Nicolle Tom), who was 14. The movie boasted a good cast. Country music star Mac Davis played Amy’s dad. Mary Kay Place portrayed Amy’s mother.
Meanwhile, the movie gave Murray, the future NCIS star, a credit on his acting resume. As Ralph, you could see him sitting next to Amy during classroom scenes. Murray still was in his teens when the movie was made. He was three years removed from his role in Hocus Pocus and still seven years out from joining the NCIS cast. Early, awkward McGee was the best. DiNozza nicknamed him “Probie” as McGee crushed on Abby and showed off the computer skills he learned at MIT.
Murray, via an interview with Parade, talked about what it’s like to work with Cole. Murray described Cole as nice guy and a pro while the two were filming the movie in 1996. He was more specific when it came to NCIS and Cole’s new spot in the show.
“I think Gary is kicking all kinds of ass,” Murray said. “I love it. (And) I remember when (showrunner Steven) Binder told me a year and a half ago that Gary was going to be coming on board, I was very excited.”
NCIS season 20 debuts Sept. 19. And it also will include a crossover with NCIS: Hawai’i. And the episode promises to be really Alden Parker specific. If you remember from the season 19 finale, Parker and his ex-wife Viv were dashing away from the Naval Yard. They needed to stay many steps ahead of the FBI since someone was trying to set up Parker for the murder of his former partner.
CBS released the NCIS premiere plot tease in early August for the episode called “A Family Matter”:
“Following the cliffhanger season 19 finale, with Special Agent Alden Parker still on the run with his ex-wife Vivian, the team investigates who from his past might have a personal vendetta against him in hopes of clearing Parker’s name. Enlisting the help of NCIS: Hawai’i’s Special Agent Jane Tennant and computer specialist Ernie Malick, who are in town meeting with director Leon Vance in preparation for a global military exercise, the group tracks down their prime suspect, The Raven.”