NCIS is adding Gary Cole and Katrina Law as two new series regulars to its cast for the upcoming 19th season, Deadline reported Tuesday. Cole, who was nominated for an Emmy for his work on HBO's Veep, will play a new character, FBI Special Agent Alden Park, while Law will return in her role as Special Agent Jessica Knight, who was introduced in the last two episodes of Season 18 as a recurring guest star.
Not much is known about Cole's character at this point, but Law's Special Agent Knight was introduced as an impressive REACT agent in her own right, specializing in hostage negotiations and high-risk operations. While Cole's character is not replacing Mark Harmon's Leroy Jethro Gibbs, the newcomer is being brought on to help fill the gaps left by Harmon's decision to take a step back this season. Harmon is expected to appear in just a handful of episodes of Season 19 after Gibbs was suspended indefinitely from the NCIS following a violent encounter with an animal abuser.
"We take it year by year with Mark, we'd love to have him as long as he'd like to be here," CBS President Kelly Kahl told Deadline last month. "Even in this past season, he might have been light in a couple of [episodes], so we're happy to work around his schedule." Longtime series regular Emily Wickersham also exited at the end of Season 18, leaving another gap on the team to fill.
"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," NCIS showrunner Steven D. Binder told Deadline. "Going into Season 19, we are excited to have new characters and stories to tell that adds to and reenergizes the world we've come to love over the 400+ episodes."
Wickersham announced in May that her character Ellie Bishop would not be returning to NCIS for another season. "Hangin this hat and jacket up. What a great ride it's been," she wrote on Instagram at the time. "I can't say enough kind words about this group that I've had the pleasure of working with for close to 8 years now and 172 episodes later. This business is finicky and weird and consistency is a rarity. I've been lucky enough to be a part of a show where I got to show up and act and laugh and learn with wonderful people."