NCIS Season 21: Will Gary Cole And David McCallum Return ?


Alden Parker (Gary Cole) had big shoes to fill. He was tasked with stepping up in the absence of Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon), aka the most iconic character in the entire NCIS franchise. To his credit, he did just that. Not only did he manage to keep the show running (metaphorically and literally), but he instilled confidence in a fanbase who may have been unsure about going forward without Gibbs.

The big question heading into season 21, of course, is whether Parker is going to stick around. There’s been a lot of time dedicated to his character, so the notion of him leaving would not only amount to a huge waste of time on the part of the writers, but it would once again throw the leadership of the show into question.

Is Gary Cole leaving NCIS season 21?

Fortunately, there are no such concerns to be had here. Parker is in it for the long haul. Cole went into great detail about the daunting task of replacing Mark Harmon during a 2022 interview with TV Insider.

“They actually wrote a moment that was not just for the team in the squad room but for the audience when Parker said, ‘I know this is weird. OK, I get it, but we’ve gotta get past this so we can get the job done…’”, he recalled. “That was a way for the [show] writers to send the signal to the viewers that yes, this was going to be different but also familiar because the show has been on for so long and has worked on so many different levels.” Now that the character has moved past this transitional period, however, we will hopefully get a chance to see him get more fleshed out. There were flashes of the man he was prior to his time with NCIS, and even moments of anger and bitterness that were uncommon, given his usually calm facade. That’s the guy we want to see more of in season 21.


David McCallum is the only OG member of the show left. Will we get to see more of him in NCIS Season 21, or is Ducky leaving for good?

We don’t see as much of Ducky as we used to. David McCallum started taking a backseat on the show over the last few years. This was a personal choice of his. He didn’t want to leave completely, but he was ready to spend more time with his family. CBS and the show found a way to make it work.

Of course, there is always the fear that we’ll lose the last remaining OG character one season. There’s always a chance that McCallum will say that he is done with the series for good. Is this going to be that year?

Will David McCallum be in NCIS Season 21?

There are currently no signs to say that Ducky is hanging up his bowtie for good just yet. That being said, we’ll likely still only see him for an episode or two, and we may not see him in person. In Season 20, he helped out with cases by being on a video screen as he was traveling on a book tour.

As much as we would love to see more of the medical examiner, the limited appearances are something to look forward to. We’re also completely onboard with the actor choosing his family over his work. Don’t we all wish that we could do that more?

That being said, the current strike action could change everything. As McCallum gets more time off, he may decide that it’s time to fully retire. This could mean no more Ducky on the series, but we hope that there would be some sort of announcement should something like that happen. We also need some big episode to say goodbye to Ducky if he’s going to be gone for good.