‘NCIS’ Star Gary Cole on Taking Over Gibbs’ Staff as Agent Parker


New man Alden Parker (Gary Cole) had some large footwear to fill when he took over in 2021 as head of the NCIS staff from longtime chief Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon, who’d been with the collection because the 2003 premiere). After a bumpy begin with the brokers, Parker received them over, however followers beloved Cole — a well-recognized face with a protracted profession in TV and movies — from the beginning. We spoke with the actor about his character’s journey thus far.

When Director Vance (Rocky Carroll) provided Parker the job, he hesitated. Why?

Gary Cole: He [wondered], “Is that this the place I actually wish to be?” The stakes couldn’t be larger. The [team is] on a perpetual stress practice. Parker, by nature, is a loner. Out of intuition, he doesn’t belief anyone. However he’s received to make compromises and do two issues: watch his again and belief different individuals along with his life. At first, Parker was adversarial with everyone, however Vance gave him the advantage of the doubt. [Vance] is a trademark good chief, agency however truthful, and that’s what Parker tries to be.

Parker bonded along with his brokers in “All Fingers” (Season 19, Episode 11), when he led them in outsmarting and outfighting terrorists on a ship. It was the primary time Parker known as them “my staff.” Why was this a game-changer?

The circumstances have been so black and white. Folks’s lives have been on the road. Being in cost, he was liable for them. Earlier than then, the staff had motive to not essentially have lots of confidence or belief in him as a result of Gibbs had been there so lengthy that they have been used to at least one factor, and Parker was not that. On this episode, he’s proving himself to the staff. In actual life, about two weeks earlier than, I tore my meniscus. At any time when we weren’t capturing, I used to be sitting on an apple field with an enormous bag of ice.

Gary Cole as FBI Special Agent Alden Parker in NCIS

(Credit score: Robert Voets/CBS by way of Getty Photos )

How does Parker see the brokers now?

Parker appears to get McGee’s [Sean Murray] tackle the large image, zeroing in on whoever they’re on the lookout for, no matter they’re making an attempt to resolve. He is aware of that in Torres [Wilmer Valderrama] he’s received a man that may go the gap, go undercover, do the soiled, badass work, and to some extent [so will] Knight [Katrina Law]. With Torres, he sees recklessness he’d reasonably wasn’t there. There’s a concern that Torres goes to go off a cliff as a result of he needs to do issues which might be excessive.

Parker is infamous for his many passions: worldwide pastries, bird-watching, horticulture. Have you ever picked any of these up?

None of his hobbies curiosity me in any way. [Laughs] I like doughnut as a lot as the following man, so possibly that’s the closest. [The hobbies are] a distraction from the job and possibly the shortcoming to be someone who’s extra social or comfy round individuals. He’s a man who can’t sit nonetheless. He’s not someone who displays loads — till he doesn’t have a selection if one thing is weighing on him.

In “Thick as Thieves” (Season 19, Episode 15), followers have been simply as shocked because the staff to study Parker was in juvie! How does that relate to the agent we all know?

He was on the opposite aspect, albeit in a juvenile crime, and received near a path that will have, if not destroyed his life, actually altered it. He selected the trail of legislation enforcement, and he takes it very critically. What makes the character attention-grabbing is stuff you don’t see on a frequent foundation. It’s effervescent beneath.

Brian Dietzen as Jimmy Palmer and Gary Cole as FBI Special Agent Alden Parker star in NCIS

(Credit score: Sonja Flemming/CBS by way of Getty Photos)

Talking of effervescent beneath, we discovered in “Bridges” (Season 20, Episode 11) that he by no means received over highschool love Pleasure Aaronson (Rachel Ticotin). Let’s speak in regards to the ladies in his life. His ex-wife, former FBI agent Vivian Kolchak (Teri Polo), helped him when he was framed for homicide, and he had a fling with Sen. Constance Miller (Brigid Brannagh), however nothing sticks. Can Parker decide to a relationship?

If there’s a theme working by means of that, it’s reluctance. Possibly that traces again to the episode along with his ex-partner that he wounded. That’s a major piece that has one thing to do along with his reluctance to be near anybody, and definitely, with a girl in essentially the most intimate method. It’s on the again burner.

Proper. In “Outdated Wounds” (Season 20, Episode 14), we met his former FBI accomplice Jeremy Brighton (Michael Patrick Thornton), whom Parker had mistakenly shot and paralyzed. There was a scene the place Brighton had Parker learn aloud the letter Brighton had written him shortly after the incident. What was it wish to play that?

It’s as emotional a scene as I’ve carried out in fairly a very long time, and I used to be in a position to do this in a simpler method than possibly I ever had — simply due to life expertise and dealing as an actor. I wished Parker to get the letter and browse it again to his accomplice, nearly in anger at first, after which uncover the flip [to forgiveness] that the letter makes nearly as if it simply sort of overtook him and he didn’t count on it. That’s what we wound up doing. It introduced some closure to no matter Parker had been holding on to over that.

Francis Xavier McCarthy and Gary Cole in NCIS

(Credit score: Robert Voets/CBS)

Parker’s dad, Roman (Francis Xavier McCarthy), whom we met in “Birds of a Feather” (Season 19, Episode 21), has criticized his son for not becoming a member of the Navy and for divorcing Vivian. However Roman’s additionally helped on circumstances! How do you see their relationship?

We don’t know a lot about what went on when he was youthful, however I believe at one level he was craving for his dad’s consideration or approval. He loves his father, nevertheless it doesn’t come straightforward between the 2 of ’em. I appreciated the way in which these scenes have been written, particularly Parker making an attempt to set him up in a brand new residence and Roman lastly relents and offers his son credit score and tells him he’s pleased with him. Meaning loads. Parker was extra exasperated along with his father than the rest that ever occurred on the present, which has a real-life feeling.

Developing in Season 21, Parker will pose as a surgeon in a single episode. He’s beforehand impersonated a lawyer and psychiatrist, which appears dangerous for a federal agent.

Parker does have a present for bulls–ttery, if that’s a phrase. He’s comfy in that. He was launched [to the series] as this wacko man who was a lone wolf and hiding the truth that he was working for the FBI and shutting in on the identical particular person as NCIS. He’ll pose as someone else to get what he needs.

NCIS Episode 1,000: Monday, April 15, 9/8c, CBS

That is an excerpt from TV Information Journal’s NCIS: Particular Collector’s Version situation. For extra inside scoop on the long-running CBS franchise, choose up a duplicate of the difficulty accessible on newsstands and for order on-line at NCISMagazine.com.


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