‘NCIS’ Star Gary Cole Discusses Parker’s Introduction Into the Show

by Shelby Scott

NCIS” saw quite the shake-up in its cast compared to the beginning of season 18. The previous season’s conclusion not only saw show patriarch Special Agent Gibbs blown up in his own boat. We also lost the popular “NCIS” regular, Eleanor Bishop (Emily Wickersham). Additionally, the early half of season 19 introduced Alden Parker as the core NCIS team’s agent in charge. Overall, the “NCIS” character, played by dynamic actor Gary Cole, saw both love and backlash after joining the crew. Nevertheless, he’s adapted pretty well to his part on “NCIS.” Now though, in the latter half of season 19, Cole is speaking out about his character’s introduction to the show.

Gary Cole on Fulfilling His ‘NCIS’ Role

“The writers were very smart when they had [Parker] arrive during a conflict among the other characters,” Cole shared with TV Insider. He explained how it enabled greater character development on the former FBI agent’s part right from the get-go.

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

Because surely that wouldn’t have worked; there was already animosity between the “NCIS” team and Parker when he first arrived on the set. Not to mention “NCIS” fans would have absolutely lost it.

Already, Gary Cole has had a lot to live up to in embodying his character following Leroy Jethro Gibbs’ (Mark Harmon’s) departure. Harmon held the key role within “NCIS” before the naval crime show even launched its pilot. Longtime fans will recall that Gibbs made an appearance in the since-concluded series, “JAG,” during its eighth season.

In filling those massive shoes, Cole’s costar and longtime “NCIS” cast member Sean Murray (Timothy McGee) said, “Anyone who comes in is going to have to live up to a lot of expectations.”

Murray added, “I think we have something different going on here,” which allows Gary Cole to occupy the role of Special Agent In Charge in a completely different way than Mark Harmon did previously.

And in doing so, it’s likely what has furthered the success of “NCIS” even post-Gibbs.

‘NCIS’ and Spin-Offs to Return for Another Season

Despite the uncertainty regarding the future of “NCIS” immediately following Mark Harmon’s departure, “NCIS” and its spin-offs have been picked up by CBS for yet another season. For brand new characters, namely Parker and Katrina Law, it provides them an opportunity to continue their development.

The “NCIS” renewal also marks another important milestone for the franchise. Come fall, longtime fans will have followed the dynamic team for 20 successful seasons.

That said, recall that Mark Harmon remains an “NCIS” executive producer. In honor of the 20th season, perhaps the beloved actor will make a brief appearance when the new season kicks off this fall.

Fortunately, however, fans still have a decent amount of time left to navigate the 19th season of “NCIS.”

As per Hidden Remote, “NCIS” won’t conclude its current season for more than a month, the finale airing on Monday, May 23rd, during its usual time slot at 9 p.m. EST.