Mark Harmon Clarifies Details of His NCIS Departure: ‘I Was Just Tired’


Two years after leaving NCIS as Leroy Jethro Gibbs, Mark Harmon explains why he departed the show despite requests for his return.

Mark Harmon, who portrayed Leroy Jethro Gibbs in NCIS, clarifies the reason for his departure from the show after nearly two decades.

Gibbs, the formidable leader, played a central role in the series until Harmon’s exit in NCIS season 19, and he hasn’t returned since. The rumors surrounding his departure were addressed by Harmon.

Now, two years after leaving NCIS as Gibbs, Harmon discloses the true reason for his decision on The Kelly Clarkson Show. Read his entire quote below:

“I was tired for a long time. The job required being at home with a young family and not traveling for movies. The reality of long working hours, like the 22-hour first day, differed from my expectations. We had many days like that in the first four years.”

Mark Harmon, who played Gibbs on NCIS, retired at the age of 70. Similar to David McCallum’s Ducky, limiting screen time was not an option due to the importance of his character.

Gibbs chose to walk away from his long-term employment, which provided him with a happy ending.

With Gibbs’ fate open-ended, there’s potential for his return to NCIS, as Mark Harmon hasn’t ruled it out.

While season 20 celebrated without legacy players, there’s an argument for Harmon’s Gibbs to return in season 21, especially considering Ducky’s recent passing and the potential real-life inspiration from David McCallum’s d3ath.

There’s no sign that CBS plans to bring Gibbs back for NCIS Season 21, and Harmon isn’t aware of any such plans.

However, given the delayed start of production this year, there is still time for writers to work on a possible comeback, particularly for a Ducky memorial episode.


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  1. We would like to see you back but it’s up to you we love you your beautiful crooked smile gorgeous blue eyes you have done a good job on your show and so has all the other cast and the crew I know it’s time to spend with your family your beautiful wife Pam you’re loving sons we will miss you and you always be in our hearts love you God bless you

  2. Wonderful interview, I really enjoyed that as I always enjoy listening to what the real Mark Harmon has to say. I got his book for Christmas and when the weather gets cold and I can’t get out I’m going to read it because I know I won’t want to put it down once I start. I pray for his well-being every night. 🙏🤗🙏

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