Actor Gary Cole is on board to star as FBI Special Agent Alden Park for season 19 of the popular CBS hit series NCIS, but is not a Gibbs substitute.

Gary Cole is officially on board for NCIS season 19, but is not replacing Mark Harmon’s Gibbs. After 18 seasons of the crime drama, the CBS series is returning for another outing. The upcoming season will move from Tuesday nights to Monday nights at 9 p.m. ET, which is the first time that the series has ever changed its time slot. NCIS will play right before the spin-off series, NCIS: Hawai’i.

Season 18 marks the end of the line for two characters who have been series regulars: Jack Sloane (Maria Bello) and Ellie Bishop (Emily Wickersham). The team’s boss, Gibbs, has been indefinitely suspended, and the show left off with him having faked his death while going after a suspect. This story development has resulted in many fans questioning how much he will be included in season 19.

TVLine reports Gary Cole is now part of the NCIS cast, but not as a replacement for Gibbs. Cole is set to play FBI Special Agent Alden Park, who is going to be a series regular moving forward. Harmon will continue to make appearances, although his involvement in the show will be limited. CBS has also confirmed that Katrina Law will return in the upcoming season as Special Agent Jessica Knight. Read on below for NCIS showrunner Steven D. Binder’s statement:

“We haven’t shot a single frame quite yet, but with the addition of Gary Cole and Katrina Law to the cast, this is already shaping up to be one of the best seasons yet. Going into Season 19, we are excited to have new characters and stories to tell that adds to and re-energizes the world we’ve come to love over the 400-plus episodes.”

NCIS Season 19 Casts Gary Cole But Reportedly Not As Gibbs' Replacement
NCIS Season 19 Casts Gary Cole But Reportedly Not As Gibbs’ Replacement

As news that Cole has been of interest for the CBS show spread, fans have been curious about the direction this character is going in, a secret that remains under wraps. Cole is an excellent actor with a Primetime Emmy nomination for HBO’s hilarious Veep, among a long list of credits that continues to grow. Most recently, he has been keeping up his roles in series including Mixed-ish, The Good Fight, Family Guy, and Bob’s Burgers. His performance in Veep as senior strategist Kent Davison shows his ability to play a character like FBI Special Agent Park. Even though the HBO series incorporates much more of a comedic edge, he is a good fit for NCIS.

Harmon was reportedly ready to part ways with the CBS show, but changed his mind after learning the show would likely be cancelled if he left. Given the show’s change in time slot, Gibbs’ limited inclusion, and a change in character focus, CBS clearly anticipates changes for the show. Perhaps there is less faith in NCIS’ longevity moving forward, so the lead into NCIS Hawai’i is a way for the network to get some bleed over. However, CBS has confidence in the overall NCIS universe, as the network has been renewing shows in the franchise, including NCIS: Los Angeles. While Cole is a good addition to the cast, only time will tell if Gibbs’ limited involvement will impact viewer interest.


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