“Isn’t this no longer Gibbs’ team?” In the most recent NCIS episode, Special Agent Nick Torres (Wilmer Valderrama) mentioned the impact his former boss (Mark Harmon) leaving had on him.
Harmon left the CBS procedural just four episodes into the current season, in one of the biggest TV exits in recent years. Rather than returning to work, the indefinitely suspended agent decided to stay in Alaska after finishing a case and see what life had in store for him there. The team’s most senior member, Special Agent Timothy McGee (Sean Murray), was expected to take over as leader. But he didn’t want the job, so it went to Alden Parker (Gary Cole), who had been fired from the FBI for failing to arrest Gibbs.
So, how has NCIS dealt with a new team leader, and how is Gibbs’ absence affecting everyone? We’ll look into it, and then we’ll ask you to vote in the poll below.
Parker in the role of Boss
It hasn’t been an easy transition for Torres (the others appear to be coping well), but there haven’t been any moments of conflict in which Parker has had to assert his authority. In fact, even in “Fight or Flight,” where Torres’ attitude should have been a source of concern for his superiors, nothing came of it. Instead, Parker simply left him alone and asked the others how they should handle the situation. (They had Brian Dietzen’s Dr. Jimmy Palmer speak to him, getting to the heart of the matter: Gibbs, the man he looked up to as a father figure, leaving.)
Was that the best way to deal with it? Parker has only had to dole out assignments because these are experienced agents (though McGee has also swapped places with Katrina Law’s Jessica Knight as a senior member of the team). Parker appears to be doing nothing but paperwork as team leader right now. It’s still difficult to evaluate the agents under new leadership until we see him and the team truly tested — which they skirted around as a possibility with “All Hands.”
The Team as a Whole
The team has undergone numerous changes since the series began with Gibbs and Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly), who met Kate Todd (Sasha Alexander) in the premiere. And each time someone d1ed or left and a new person was brought in, it took some time for them to feel like a team again. (The most memorable team will almost certainly always be Gibbs, Tony, McGee, and Ziva David of Cote de Pablo.)
They appeared to take a step toward being a team with “All Hands,” in which Torres and Knight were captured and Parker set out to rescue them, then McGee helped save him with a Star Trek reference, but there’s still that sense of these people just being coworkers. Sure, Parker has made an effort to get to know them and spend time with them outside of work, but it’s not the same as when the team felt it was appropriate for them to be the only ones attending McGee and Delilah’s (Margo Harshman) impromptu wedding, rather than their own families. It will take a long time for this team to feel that way, if it ever does.
The absence of Gibbs
Nonetheless — and because? — McGee has known Gibbs the longest and has handled his departure the best. (Knight didn’t know him, so she’s had no trouble making the transition.) Torres, on the other hand, has been the polar opposite since McGee failed to bring Gibbs back with him from Alaska. “How could you leave Gibbs behind?” he questioned, before blaming Director Leon Vance (Rocky Carroll) for allowing him to leave.
Then, in “Fight or Flight,” he pretended as if he didn’t mind if he had to leave the team. “We’re coworkers, not friends.” “On the job, we’re supposed to have each other’s backs, and that’s it,” he said, surprising Knight because “I’ve only been here for a minute, and I know that’s not how Gibbs’ team works.” But, he argued, “this isn’t Gibbs’ team anymore.”
“You feel abandoned, you feel left behind,” Palmer understood, because he felt the same way after his wife d1ed. “Occasionally, people leave. Fathers, too. And it has nothing to do with you…. If you ever want to heal, you must be willing to be hurt again.” That’s still a work in progress for Torres, and it’s difficult to judge him until we see what that means for him in the future — will he open himself up to the others..?
Meanwhile, for Palmer, who, despite how long he’d known Gibbs, didn’t get a proper farewell in Harmon’s last episode, this was just another loss in a string of recent losses that included his wife and Bishop (Emily Wickersham). While Palmer did not volunteer to cage fight for a case like Torres, he did try to heal the wounds by clinging to the past, such as the old NCIS van and the prospect of Ducky (David McCallum) returning permanently.
For forensic scientist Kasie Hines (Diona Reasonover), she began to doubt her own safety, especially since she was held hostage just before Gibbs’ departure — and he was the one to save her. “It’s on me if strike three occurs,” she explained, ultimately opting not to purchase a gun.
The Legacy of Gibbs
McGee and Palmer only learned of Gibbs’ legacy after he d1ed — a legacy he’d left behind for years. Each received $10,000 from an anonymous donor (for Palmer’s daughter), and Vance announced that they were the newest members of the Leroy Jethro Gibbs College Scholarship Club. Gibbs also gave to him when his children were the same age as theirs.
They no longer make ’em like Gibbs. He cared about his team and doing what was right, no matter the cost. Here are some of the reasons why we will miss having him around.
“It’s in memory of his daughter Kelly,” the director explained. “He started a college fund for her when she was young.” Gibbs never closed the account after she d1ed. In fact, he continued to add to it. Since then, he has assisted many agents’ families. Kelly’s children are all attending college.”
Because Gibbs was such an important part of the show and the team – especially McGee and Torres – it’s understandable that he’s not forgotten (they can’t even stop the elevator without mentioning the man whose move it was). But what are your thoughts on the mentions and how the CBS drama has handled his departure..? Please leave a comment!
What do you think about how ‘NCIS’ is dealing with the aftermath of Gibbs’ departure..?
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