In the first episode after his departure, NCIS got off to an explosive start thanks to newcomer Parker (Gary Cole). After ruffling feathers when he prematurely informed the team that Vance (Rocky Carroll) had offered him the position of team leader, Parker tried a different approach with McGee (Sean Murray), Torres (Wilmer Valderrama) and Knight (Katrina Law), who all had their reservations. While trying to get to the bottom of a case involving the military, Parker took a moment to acknowledge that it was a difficult situation.
“Hey look, I just want you to know that I know that this is weird, okay?” he said in the show. “I get it. But we gotta get past that so we can get this job done. And with a team like you, we’re gonna do it better than anyone.”
After watching Parker try to maneuver a tricky position, NCIS fans gave him a pat on the back for showing compassion and offering some humor. While folks undeniably still miss Gibbs, many found themselves content with Gary's portrayal of Parker.
“I was surprised how much I liked this episode. #garycole was great and I’m looking forward to the next episode (thank goodness cause I’ve been watching since episode 1!),” one person wrote in the show's Instagram comments. “I didn't think I'd be watching anymore since [Mark] Harmon left. Gary Cole's chemistry with everyone is fantastic. Thank you. 👏,” a different fan said. “I actually don’t mind the new guy.. he’s pretty cool ❤️,” a follower commented.
Still, others wanted to see Mark reprise his role as Gibbs again. “I want Mark back! No Gibbs, no NCIS. I’d rather the show ended than have an inferior replacement! 😕,” someone said. “We need Gibbs back!” another declared. “No Gibbs. No show. CBS give it up,” a different person wrote.
In April, The Hollywood Reporter first broke the news that Mark chose to do another season after CBS allegedly said it would cancel the series if he left. Then in June, TVLine reported that Mark would only appear in “a few” season 19 episodes, which turned out to be four. To help fill in the void, Gary was brought into the cast.
Hopefully, time will help these changes feel a little less drastic because the newcomer might just end up sticking around for a while.
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