NCIS’ Jimmy Palmer star pays tribute to ‘most talented’ co-star after emotional episode

Season 20 of NCIS has shown Alden Parker (played by Gary Cole) in a whole new light as CBS viewers continue to learn more about the man brought in to fill the Gibbs (Mark Harmon) shaped void. However, the layers were peeled further back on the character than ever before in the recent instalment, Old Wounds, as Parker came face to face with former partner Jeremy Brighton (Michael Patrick Thornton).

As the episode unfolded, it was revealed that Jeremy, who now has to use a wheelchair, sustained his life-altering injuries while he and Parker were in the field.

The person of interest in Parker’s latest case had ties to the incident which changed Jeremy’s way of life and it rekindled feelings of guilt the NCIS leading man had been hiding away ever since.

Cole delivered an outstanding performance in the role of a troubled and mysterious Parker fighting with his inner demons but credit must also go to co-star Dietzen who helped pen the emotional-charged scenes.

Discussing the instalment, however, Dietzen was full of praise for Cole for delivering all he had envisioned when he wrote the Parker-centric episode.


NCIS' Brian Dietzen and Gary Cole

NCIS’ Brian Dietzen has heaped praise on co-star Gary Cole (Image: GETTY/CBS)

NCIS' Brian Dietzen and Gary Cole as Palmer

NCIS’ Brian Dietzen and Gary Cole as Palmer and Parker (Image: GETTY/CBS)

Paying tribute to his co-star, Dietzen said when asked about exploring Parker as a character: “I’ll put it a lot of that at the feet of Gary Cole, who I think is one of the most talented actors.

“I’ve admired his career for years and his talent for years.

“So in knowing I was going to be able to co-write another episode along with Scott Williams, I really wanted to centre it on Parker’s history.”

Dietzen went on to recall to TV Insider how he first broached the topic while the two were filming the NCISverse crossover special in Hawaii.

NCIS' Gary Cole as Parker

NCIS’ Alden Parker faced some of his inner demons in Old Wounds (Image: GETTY/CBS)

NCIS' Gary Cole as Parker

NCIS’ Gary Cole was introduced as Parker in season 19 (Image: GETTY/CBS)

He said: ”When I talked to Gary Cole about it — we were actually both in Hawai’i sh******g the Hawai’i crossover and we had dinner together — and I said, ‘Here’s what I want to do for your character…

“‘I want to do a kind of an origin story as to why you have these hobbies, why you do the pastries thing, why this and that.’

“I pitched him the idea for the episode, he said, ‘I’m game. This sounds great.’ And boy, he did not disappoint.

“He’s a consummate professional and just a hell of a good guy,” Dietzen’s high praise continued.

After the episode aired on CBS this past week, it soon became clear it wasn’t just Dietzen who was blown away by Parker’s performance.

Taking to Twitter, a number of NCIS fans heaped praise on Cole and the episode as whole, with Robin Plate typing: “Excellent work by #GaryCole and the entire #NCIS cast. Way to go, @BrianDietzen.”

Elsewhere, @BumbleBUnicorn echoed: “Gary Cole was a great replacement for Mark Harmon. Really good actor. #NCIS.”

The man behind newcomer Jeremy also had kind words as Michael P Thornton tweeted: “An absolute joy joining @ncis_cbs family for the recent ep ‘Old Wounds.’

“Powerful writing from Brian Dietzen & Scott Williams, empowering direction from Diana Valentine, & the stellar experience of getting to act with #GaryCole. Loved this all so much. Thanks for having me. #NCIS,” he added.

Another NCIS fan, @AJKerbel concurred: “NCIS keeps getting even better with each passing episode and week. I really hope this show will be getting renewed for a 21st season. #NCIS.”

While @ScribeDeGryphon agreed: “It was a great, exciting episode! I really loved how all of the pieces fit together, and the way Parker’s anger threaded through all of it right up to the conclusion. Excellent writing! #NCIS.”

And Teresa Austene weighed in: “I was totally thrown by Parker’s dark side [shocked emoji]. Great episode #NCIS.”

NCIS season 20 continues Mondays on CBS in the USA and Wednesdays on Disney+ in the UK.

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