Before His ‘NCIS’ Debut, Check Out Gary Cole’s Best Onscreen Roles

Gary Cole Office Space Veep The West Wing
Judgemental Films, HBO, NBC

Stalwart CBS procedural NCIS has landed one of Hollywood’s most prolific actors for its 19th season. Gary Cole is joining the cast this Fall, signing on the dotted line to play series regular FBI Special Agent Alden Park. (But don’t worry: He’s not replacing Mark Harmon on the show.)

“We haven’t shot a single frame quite yet, but with the addition of Gary Cole and [fellow Season 19 recruit] Katrina Law to the cast, this is already shaping up to be one of the best seasons yet,” showrunner and executive producer Steven D. Binder said in a statement.

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Cole has been working in Hollywood for nearly four decades now, starting with his screen debut in the 1983 TV movie Heart of Steel. So far, the Illinois-raised actor has 187 credits to his name, including scene-stealing parts in both hit TV shows and big-screen comedies. Here are some of our favorites…

Mike Brady in The Brady Bunch Movie (1995)

In the big-screen parody of the classic TV series The Brady Bunch—and then again in the film’s sequel—Cole played the family patriarch, who had a long-winded adage for every occasion.

Bill Lumbergh in Office Space (1999)

Yeeeeah, we’re gonna have to ask you to revisit Cole’s role as a smarmy manager from hell in this comedy film, the kind of guy who wears suspenders and a belt as he assigns you endless busy work. (If you could just watch the clip above by the end of the day, that’d be terrific, mm-kay?)

Principal Shepherd and other characters in Family Guy (2000–)

Cole isn’t in the main cast of this Fox animated show, but he might as well be. He has voiced the local high school principal and other characters—including, yes, the aforementioned Mike Brady and Bill Lumbergh—for more than 70 episodes since 2000.

Bob Russell in The West Wing (2003–2006)

President Bartlet’s administration looked down upon its boots-wearing vice president in this NBC drama, but Russell always proved himself to be craftier than they gave him credit for. (And funnily enough, Cole’s Very Brady Sequel costar Tim Matheson played Russell’s predecessor in the VP spot.)

Reese Bobby in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006)

He’s a semi-professional race car driver, an amateur tattoo artist, and a father who would put his son—Will Ferrell’s Ricky Bobby—into a car with a live cougar. (And when that didn’t help Ricky get his racing mojo back, Reese had Ricky drive down a residential street blindfolded.)

Kurt McVeigh in The Good Wife and The Good Fight (2010–)

With his gun collection and conservative politics, this ballistics expert wasn’t the obvious choice for Dianne Lockhart’s romantic interest, but Cole’s chemistry with Christine Baranski has lit up both CBS’ The Good Wife and its Paramount+ offshoot.

Kent Denison in Veep (2013–2019)

Cole earned a 2014 Emmy nomination in the Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series category for playing this HBO comedy’s resident “number cruncher,” and he got bumped up to the main cast for the last four seasons.

Harrison Jackson in Mixed-ish (2019–2021)

ABC’s now-canceled Black-ish spinoff featured Cole as Mark-Paul Gosselaar’s onscreen father, a performance TV Insider’s Matt Roush commended in his initial review of the show.