Parker’s Lily Mystery Can Do The One Thing That NCIS Couldn’t For Gibbs

Mark Harmon as Gibbs and Gary Cole as Parker in NCIS


  • Parker’s addition to NCIS brings fresh storytelling opportunities, including a focus on his childhood and family history.
  • The introduction of Lily’s mystery in the season 21 finale sets up a personal arc for Parker in NCIS Season 22, which means that the procedural will dig deeper into his childhood.
  • Contrasting with Gibbs, Parker’s evolving arc allows for the exploration of his early years and relationship with his biological family — something that NCIS wasn’t able to do with Mark Harmon’s character.

Alden Parker’s Lily mystery allows NCIS to do one thing that it wasn’t able to do for Leroy Jethro Gibbs. Mark Harmon has been gone from the CBS procedural for quite a while now, and yet, he remains synonymous with the show after spearheading it for almost two decades. In terms of narrative, however, work for NCIS’ Major Case Response Team, hence why it needed to move on. Gary Cole’s Parker was brought in to fill the void that Gibbs left as the squad’s new leader. Though the characters can’t be different anymore from each other, comparing them is inevitable.

Despite Parker’s less-than-initial entanglement with the agency, he has proven to be a great addition to the organization. He has endeared himself, not just to his squad, but also to the millions of NCIS viewers. Considering how he has handled such a difficult year, which included an all-out attack on the organization in NCIS‘ 1000th episode, there is no doubt about his abilities and loyalty to his group. Admittedly, however, he still has a long way to go to get to Gibbs’ level of popularity, but his evolving arc will give him an edge regarding one particular storytelling aspect.

Parker’s Lily Mystery Sets Up His Childhood Family Story In NCIS Season 22

NCIS Season 21 Finale Introduced The Mysterious Identity Of Lily

The CBS procedural goes for a quieter year-ender when Parker and his team respond to the discovery of several bodies aboard a ship that is about to be an artificial reef. As he and Knight get stuck on the ship in the NCIS season 21 finale, “Reef Madness,” things become more complicated when Parker finds out that he is bleeding in the leg, which is a ruptured artery. The continuous loss of blood causes Parker to hallucinate and call someone named Lily. Later, however, he claims that he doesn’t remember any of it.

Based on what’s revealed, however, it appears as if Lily is Parker’s late sister, who may have died in a ship-related incident. This arc will likely be further explored when NCIS returns for season 22; it may even be the bulk of the character’s personal arc, as the show delves deep into his childhood. This is one thing that the procedural wasn’t able to do with Gibbs. NCIS never showed his much younger years, only focusing on the beginning of his love story with Shannon. By then, he was already well into early adulthood.

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Why NCIS Wasn’t Able to Tackle Gibbs’ Childhood Despite Being On The Show For So Long

Gibbs’ NCIS Stories Revolved Around Other Aspects Of His Personal Life.

NCIS regularly looked back on Gibbs’ past, but the majority of those stories were his experience in the Marines and the subsequent murder of Shannon and Kelly, which was already a particularly interesting point in his life. Eventually, it was revealed that his mother died of suicide when he was 14 and that he was named after his parents’ best friend, but the procedural never really spent time on his childhood.

Perhaps, this is something that the upcoming Gibbs prequel series, NCIS: Origins , can tackle.

Perhaps, this is something that the upcoming Gibbs prequel series, NCIS: Origins, can tackle. Since the show is already set in the past and is solely focused on the character’s personal story, it has more creative room to explore some of the overlooked aspects of his history. The inclusion of Gibbs’ father, Jackson, in the upcoming NCIS spinoff will also make this easier, considering the pair’s relationship.


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