Believe it not! As long as Mark Harmon’s picture continued to appear each week in the opening credits, there was still hope even though he had made it clear that he was departing NCIS. However, Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs’s actor, Harmon, has completely vanished from the show as of the season 20 debut.
The new opening credits begin with a quick montage of the entire new cast, then cut to an image of Timothy McGee (Sean Murray), who first appeared on the show as a recurring character in season 1 before becoming a series regular in season 2. Next, there are images of Wilmer Valderrama (Nick Torres), Katrina Law (Jessica Knight), Brian Dietzen (Jimmy Palmer), Diona Reasonover (Kasie Hinds (Alden Parker).
In the fourth episode of season 19, after finishing a case with McGee in Alaska, Gibbs made the decision to remain in the 49th state, where he had found peace, and Harmon left the show.
“Announcing his departure for the first time on the season 19 NCIS DVD “Being Gibbs” bonus feature, Harmon remarked, “What has always brought me here [to NCIS, not Alaska] is the character I play and to keep it fresh and to keep it difficult. This character’s course was appropriate from a plot perspective. I considered saying “I’m not retired” to be open and acceptable. To my knowledge, the character resides in Alaska.”
Gary Cole took up the part of Alden Parker in the meantime, however he chose to appear at the very end rather than taking over the lead during the opening credits. Although it helped that Gibbs, who had nominated Cole for the position, gave him the thumbs-up, Cole slipped into the post almost effortlessly.
The resolution to the season 19 cliffhanger, in which Parker had left with his ex-wife Vivian Kolchak (Teri Polo) to try and solve the Raven case, was one more thing we discovered in the season premiere. Parker believes that his ex-wife is on his side, but we later learned that she is actually connected to someone who is interested in Parker’s situation secretly. But when the truth was revealed, we discovered that she had been in touch with ex-FBI agent Tobias Fornell (Joe Spano), who offered to assist with the investigation because he dislikes FBI Agent Wayne Sweeny (Erik Passoja), who is after Parker.
At 9 p.m. ET/PT on Mondays, CBS broadcasts NCIS.
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