After a period of uncertainty, it was announced in April that NCIS would not only return for Season 19, but Mark Harmon will continue playing Leroy Jethro Gibbs. Considering how Gibbs has been NCIS’s lead protagonist since its inception, it would have been weird for him to disappear from the hit CBS series, but thankfully, we don’t need to worry about that happening anytime soon. That being said, it’s unclear how much we’ll see of Gibbs next season, and it looks like NCIS might be preparing for him being around a little less with a potential new hire.

According to Variety, Veep and Mixed-ish actor Gary Cole is in talks to join NCIS Season 19 for a “major role.” No details about the character Cole would be playing were provided, but the publication also said that Cole might not be the only new face who could join the series’ main cast in the upcoming season. So assuming a deal is reached, it sounds like we should expect to see a lot of Cole’s character.

Gary Cole in Veep

NCIS Season 18’s finale, “Rule 91,” certainly left Leroy Jethro Gibbs in a precarious situation. With plenty of free time still on his plate since he hadn’t returned to NCIS, Gibbs teamed up with journalist Marcie Warren to track down a serial killer, but they soon discovered that said killer might be on to them, as evidenced by some listening devices planted at Gibbs’ home and Marcie’s office. After uncovering a clue about a location the killer potentially visited, Gibbs took out his new boat (also named Rule 91, “When you decide to walk away, don’t look back.”) to travel to that destination, but the boat blew up during the trip.

Luckily, the episode’s final seconds showed Gibbs swimming away from the wreckage, so we know he’s ok. Where he goes from there, that’s hard to say. It’s reasonable to surmise Gibbs will eventually apprehend or eliminate this serial killer, but there’s still no indication that he’ll return to working at NCIS. The chances of him reprising his special agent duties seem likelier than not, but until that happens, perhaps Gary Cole will come in to take over as team leader, which Timothy McGee has been provisionally acting as since Gibbs’ departure. Or Maybe McGee will keep leading the team, and Cole will come in to help out NCIS in some other capacity.

Regardless, even ignoring Mark Harmon’s potentially reduced screen time, NCIS will look quite different in Season 19. Maria Bello departed as Jack Sloane in the Season 18 episode “True Believer,” but that exit was at least announced ahead of time. Then Emily Wickersham departed as Ellie Bishop in “Rule 91,” as after being willingly being disgraced as an NCIS agent, Ellie turned in her badge and embarked on a long-term, undercover operation afterwards. Besides Gary Cole, no other new faces being looked at for NCIS Season 19 have been revealed yet, but was previously reported that Katrina Law’s Jessica Knight, who we met in Season 18’s final two episodes, has the potential to become a series regular.

After nearly two decades of being slotted on Tuesday nights, NCIS Season 19 is moving to Mondays at 9 p.m. ET, where it’ll be paired with spinoff NCIS: Hawaii. Don’t forget to browse through our 2021 summer TV schedule to learn which of your favorite shows are currently airing.

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