HomeAmerican EntertainmentTVNCIS‘NCIS’: How the Show’s Newest Cast Addition Will Help Us Understand Alden Parker Better

‘NCIS’: How the Show’s Newest Cast Addition Will Help Us Understand Alden Parker Better

by Caitlin Berard
(Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)

Season 19 of NCIS came with a variety of unexpected changes to the show. The most jarring by far, however, was the departure of Mark Harmon‘s Leroy Jethro Gibbs, an NCIS mainstay from day one. Alden Parker, played by Gary Cole, stepped into the incredibly large shoes of the Supervisory Special Agent, sparking an understandable level of uncertainty in NCIS fans and fellow characters.

In an effort to help everyone understand the new SSA a little better, the newcomer’s ex-wife will soon be introduced to the show. Vivian Kolchak, played by The Fosters star Teri Polo, will provide some much-needed insight into the backstory of the new team leader.

According to Deadline, Polo will guest star in the Season 19 finale, then have a recurring role in Season 20 of the police procedural. Her character, Vivian Kolchak, is an ex-FBI agent. After her divorce from Alden Parker, Kolchak joined the Defense Department, where she works as a paranormal investigator.

Alden Parker made his first NCIS appearance in Season 19, episode 2, “Nearly Departed.” However, he wasn’t truly introduced until two episodes later.

Since then, NCIS creators have taken their time exploring the new leader’s personality and backstory. The only thing fans and fellow characters know so far is that he spent time in juvenile detention in his youth. That said, the introduction of Parker’s ex-wife should come with the details about the new SSA we’ve all been waiting for.

Gary Cole Talks Alden Parker’s Introduction to ‘NCIS’

When Mark Harmon announced that he was stepping down as Agent Gibbs, NCIS fans everywhere dreaded the change. With this knowledge, Gary Cole knew the task laid before him wouldn’t be easy to accomplish. However, in an interview with TV Insider, the highly experienced actor said that the writers of NCIS handled it in the best way possible.

“The writers were very smart when they had [Parker] arrive during a conflict among the other characters,” Cole says. “They were chasing a serial killer and Parker was chasing the same one. They collided in the middle of a case so there was immediate conflict and animosity [between them], which was good.”

“I thought it was handled pretty well,” Cole continued. “The most important thing was how he entered as a character. He didn’t just show up and say he was the new guy.”

Sean Murray’s character, Special Agent Timothy McGee, gave a voice to fans’ concerns. McGee always viewed Gibbs as both team leader and father figure, making the transition especially difficult for him. Alden Parker is a very different character from Jethro Gibbs, and Sean Murray considers that a positive.

“Parker came in a very different character than Gibbs,” said Murray. “Anyone who comes in is going to have to live up to a lot of expectations. I think we have something different going on. Instead of family structure with a paternal figure, [we’ve] got something where it’s more equal.”