Like many procedural series, NCIS has undergone a number of cast changes in almost 20 years on the air, but up until the 19th season, Leroy Jethro Gibbs, played by Mark Harmon, was one of the few regular cast members from the very beginning. However, in the fourth episode of the 19th season, “Great Wide Open”, Harmon left the popular TV show, although he continued to be shown in the NCIS opening credits until the end of the season. 10 months after this episode aired, Harmon finally spoke about the big goodbye to Gibbs.
The finale of the 19th season of NCIS aired on May 23, and there is just over a month left until the 20th season, which will begin with the crossover NCIS: Hawai’i. Meanwhile, the DVD collection with the 19th season of NCIS will be released on Tuesday, August 16, and ET was fixated on a special short in which Mark Harmon talked about where we left off with Gibbs, saying:
What has always attracted me here is the character I play and the desire to keep it fresh and complex. From the point of view of the plot, this character went the way he went. I thought it was honest and good with.
The groundwork for Mark Harmon’s departure from NCIS began to take shape in the second half of season 18, shortly after the show said goodbye to Jacqueline Sloan from Maria Bello. Leroy Jethro Gibbs was suspended from NCIS for assaulting a suspect who abused dogs, and it became clear that he was not interested in getting his badge back. Gibbs then began forming a bond with reporter Marcy Warren (played by Harmon’s real-life wife Pam Dawber), and they teamed up to investigate a series of mysterious murders. The two came to the conclusion that a serial killer was to blame, but their investigation stalled when Gibbs’ new boat was blown up in the final minutes of the season 18 finale while he was steering it.
Fortunately, Gibbs survived an attempt on his life, and during his four episodes of season 19, he revealed the truth about why these murders occurred. This eventually brought him and Timothy McGee Sean Murray to Necton Bay, Alaska, where the two of them and Gary Cole’s Alden Parker ended this threat once and for all. When Cole decided to release Gibbs rather than take him into custody, as ordered by his superiors at the FBI, Mark Harmon’s character decided to stay in Alaska rather than return to Washington, D.C. with Cole and McGee because he found “a sense of peace.”
As Mark Harmon said in the NCIS season 19 short, he thought Gibbs’ journey in these last episodes made sense in terms of shaking up the character, as it seemed like the path Gibbs would take. Harmon also provided the following statement about how Gibbs is doing these days:
I’m not retired… As far as I know, the character lives in Alaska.
Since Leroy Jethro Gibbs decided not to return to NCIS, Alden Parker, fired by the FBI, was hired as the team leader of McGee, Nick Torres Wilmer Valderrama and Jessica Knight of Katrina Lowe. And although he was no longer on the show, Gibbs was mentioned frequently throughout the remainder of NCIS’ 19th season, including when it was revealed that he had created a college scholarship club. As for whether Mark Harmon will ever be able to return to the CBS show, Sean Murray said shortly before the season 19 finale that, in his opinion, “there is a possibility that this will happen,” and CBS Entertainment president Kelly Kahl said the day after the finale aired: door it’s open if he ever wants to look at an episode or a few episodes.”
You can count on CinemaBlend to share if it is officially announced that Mark Harmon is returning to NCIS, whether again as a series regular or as a guest. At the moment, fans of the show can look forward to the premiere of the 20th season on September 19, and our TV schedule for 2022 covers other programs that will be released before the end of the year.