FBI Special Agent Parker (Gary Cole) kicked off Monday night’s episode by letting McGee (Sean Murray), Torres (Wilmer Valderrama) and Knight (Katrina Law) know that he wasn’t going to take Vance (Rocky Carroll) up on his offer to join them. After hearing this, Torres immediately wanted to know why Parker was even asked in the first place and why Gibbs’ righthand man, McGee, wasn’t automatically given the reins.
Like Torres, viewers were just as confused why it was even a question who would be taking over Gibbs’ role when they assumed the position would automatically go to McGee. “Not cool, passing over McGee — inconsistent writing, after training & depending on McGee, Gibbs would have picked him,” one person wrote on Twitter. “McGee deserves the job, not Parker. Boot Parker, give him his own team if necessary, but THIS team is McGee's,” another added. “Really can't believe that Vance offers Gibbs' job to Parker! Slap in the face to McGee,” a different fan said.
I, personally, would not presume to think Gibbs recommended Parker *over* McGee. I would like to think Gibbs and McGee had plenty of time to talk about the future and what McGee told Torres on the stake-out...Gibbs already knew. :)
— Steven D. Binder (@stevebinder) October 19, 2021
But according to NCIS showrunner Steven D. Binder, that’s not exactly how it went down. While tuning into the first episode without Gibbs, he decided to clear the air when he saw one specific tweet that read, “OK, CBS, you flat out lied to us! You said Parker was not a replacement for Gibbs — that is exactly what you were planning. 2nd beef: Gibbs would have never recommended Parker over McGee for leader. The job should have been McGees! Loved Kasie calling out Parker.”
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In response, Steven asked fans to have an open mind about the next chapter of NCIS. “I, personally, would not presume to think Gibbs recommended Parker *over* McGee,” Steven replied. “I would like to think Gibbs and McGee had plenty of time to talk about the future and what McGee told Torres on the stake-out...Gibbs already knew.”
As if anticipating the online outrage, we see on the show Parker ask McGee why he passed on the job, and despite being caught off guard, he didn't hold back about his reasons. “Sure, I imagined it happening one day [but] the job wasn’t what I thought it would be,” McGee said. “Not nearly as fun, hours were even worse. Don’t get to go out in the field as much. Plus, there’s all that paperwork.”
Shortly after, McGee got even more candid with Torres, revealing that he wasn’t willing to lose his family like his mentor had. “If there’s anything I learned from Gibbs, it’s that this job is all consuming … That can’t be me. I can’t do that. It’s that simple,” he said.
Considering this, some called their fellow fans to respect McGee’s wishes and accept Parker as the new team leader. “McGee was real in knowing himself. Parker ain't a bad addition. He fits. Life moves on,” a fan tweeted.
In the end, Ducky (David McCallum) put it best when he said that “change is the essence of life” despite it not being what the team or some fans wanted. “From what I hear, it sounds as if [Gibbs] is starting to live life again. Possibly for the first time since losing his family,” he told Jimmy (Brian Dietzen) on the show. “If that is the case, I don’t mourn his departure. I’m grateful for it. Our pain is a small price to pay for his peace.”
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