How Parker’s First ‘NCIS’ Season 19 Episodes Hint at His Future on the Team

Gary Cole as Alden Parker in NCIS
Cliff Lipson/CBS

We understand if you’re not over Mark Harmon‘s exit from NCIS just yet. But the show — and the team — must go on. There are still cases to solve. And one of the orders of business for the CBS drama is revealing just how Gary Cole‘s Alden Parker will fit in going forward.

The NCIS team — Timothy McGee (Sean Murray), Nick Torres (Wilmer Valderrama), and Jessica Knight (Katrina Law) — met Parker while they were investigating the serial killer Gibbs was after and joined forces with the FBI agent. During the course of that, Gibbs set off with that serial killer on his own, leaving behind the other member of the road trip (Parker). The FBI subsequently issued a warrant for Gibbs’ arrest.

Parker followed Gibbs and McGee to Alaska but was convinced to let them finish their work there and helped close the case. He also let Gibbs go even when the other man was surrendering himself at the end of the episode. As he saw it, if he didn’t testify to the fact that Gibbs stole the government vehicle he did, there’s no case. As a result, Parker was fired.

But Cole is a series regular in Season 19, and he’s already seen in the photos and promo for the next episode, “Face the Strange,” working alongside the team (with a Visitor badge, pictured above). How do his first three episodes suggest how we’ll see him going forward? We examine that below.

Vance Hires Parker

Parker did let his agent (even if Gibbs was suspended at the time) and friend go, after all. Maybe the NCIS director (Rocky Carroll) repays that favor by bringing him into his agency. And while the argument can be made that Parker has more years of experience on the job than McGee and should maybe then be the new team leader, McGee is ready (even if he’s still finding his rhythm) to do the job. Plus, they can say that since he’d been fired from one federal agency, he has to face some sort of consequence at his next job.

Parker Becomes a Consultant for NCIS

Maybe Parker can’t even officially join NCIS as an agent due to the FBI firing him. Consultant does seem to be the role he’s stepping into in the promo (above) for the next episode since he is at the scene with the team when a van explodes.

Parker Teams up With Fornell

There might be a reason why Parker mentioned in “Great Wide Open” that he called his old coworker Fornell (Joe Spano) and it was the now-private detective who convinced him Gibbs didn’t belong behind bars. Maybe the two former FBI agents team up, and Parker just so happens to work with the team a lot.

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NCIS, Mondays, 9/8c, CBS