‘NCIS’ Star Gary Cole Opens Up About Tensions Between Alden Parker and the Rest of the Team

by John Jamison
Photo: Cliff Lipson/CBS ©2021 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Taking over for someone like Mark Harmon’s Leroy Gibbs on NCIS is a tall order no matter who you are. Gary Cole talked about stepping into that position and how the rest of the team is warming up to his Alden Park character in their own ways.

Mark Harmon played Leroy Gibbs for nearly 20 years, from 2003 to 2021. Of course, nothing is keeping him from popping back up at some point. But it’s safe to say his days of leading NCIS are behind him. Change is a good thing. Though too much change too fast can affect people in different ways.

Gary Cole represents change in a major way. His Alden Parker character is fundamentally different from Gibbs, and the rest of the team will have to adjust.

“Parker isn’t overly chatty, but he is more verbal. He’s not as old school; he tries to get his hands on new tech gadgets and impress everybody. He’s trying to fit in with the rest of the team. Although he may be reluctant to voice it, he admires that Gibbs breaks rules. Parker bends them. We’ll see if it gets to the point of breaking,” Park told TV Insider recently.

The fact that Parker looks up to Gibbs will likely go a long way toward gaining the trust of his team. Parker is definitely more by the book, which will lead to its fair share of conflict. Cole detailed some of that resistance from the team.

“Initially, Torres [Wilmer Valderrama] is the most resistant. Why, I’m not sure. McGee (Sean Murray), whose nature is intelligent and open, is reluctant at first but rolls with it. Jimmy (Brian Dietzen) and Kasie [Diona Reasonover)—they’re in a different world because they’re scientific,” Gary Cole continued in the interview.

‘NCIS’ Star Gary Cole’s Character Tries to Make a Good Impression

A promo video NCIS shared recently highlighted the tension between Alden Parker and the rest of the team ahead of the new episode “False Start” coming November 1.

“Looks like the new guy is trying to score some brownie points,” says Timothy McGee upon seeing the box of pastries Parker brings for the team.

“We barely know this guy. What if he’s playing mind games?” says Wilmer Valderrama’s Nick Torres. That’s exactly what he’s doing, Nick. He’s just trying to get on your good side. That resistance from Torres Gary Cole mentioned is on full display here.

When Parker himself finally enters the scene, the team scatters toward their desks like the teacher just walked into the classroom. Little did they know, Gary Cole’s character just wanted to chat about their weekends. He really is different from Gibbs.