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Mark Harmon: ‘I Am Unaware of Gibbs Returning to NCIS’

If NCIS’ Leroy Jethro Gibbs is returning to give Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard – played by late cast member David McCallum – a proper send-off, no one has informed series vet Mark Harmon.

Harmon is still an executive producer on CBS’ NCIS, which begins Season 21 on February 12, 2024, although he hasn’t appeared on-screen as longstanding team leader Gibbs since early Season 19.

(It wasn’t until 11 months later that Harmon’s name was removed from the opening credits of the popular procedural.)

With McCallum’s passing on Sept. 25, there’s speculation about NCIS paying tribute to the late original cast member.

Considering Sean Murray and Brian Dietzen as the closest to the originals, a fitting sendoff for Ducky might involve encores from former cast members like Harmon, Weatherly, de Pablo, and/or Perrette. (Production on NCIS Season 21 is yet to start.)

In a recent Q&A with Entertainment Tonight (November 16), Harmon was questioned about Gibbs and whether he will ever rejoin his NCIS role.

“He’s probably sitting in a stream up in Alaska fishing,” Harmon said with a laugh. “Will he be able to get out of the stream?” I’m not sure. But if he is, I’m not aware of it.”

In a Season 19 DVD bonus, Harmon previously commented on Gibbs’ decision to retire and ostensibly make Alaska home, noting, “Plot-wise, this character has followed the course that it did…. “I thought it was sincere.”

Meanwhile, NCIS producer Steven D. Binder has been reticent to have people even allude to Gibbs’ current location.

“There’s an intriguing ambiguity surrounding Gibbs and where we left him,” Binder shared with TVLine. “The writing staff feels he’s both nowhere and everywhere.

When I think of Gibbs, I don’t envision him in an apartment in Alaska; instead, I see him as if he’s turned into pixie dust, floating in the sky until duty calls him back.”

Binder argued that providing specific details on Gibbs’ current whereabouts would spoil the carefully crafted and ideal conclusion achieved for the character in Season 19.

“Gibbs has only ‘appeared’ in ways that establish elements like the college trust fund and his influence on Jane Tennant’s career in NCIS: Hawai’i. These instances provide no insight into his current life or its nature.”

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