‘NCIS’ Executive Producer Admits They Thought Mark Harmon’s Exit Would Mean the ‘Death’ of the Show


In a special retrospective to commemorate the show’s 20th anniversary, ‘NCIS’ executives discuss one action they thought would spell the d3ath of the show.

For nearly two decades, Mark Harmon’s portrayal of Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs on the hit CBS cr1me show NCIS was synonymous. His resignation during the 19th season of the show left fans and industry insiders worrying about the show’s future.

Charles Floyd Johnson, executive producer, recently revealed that the team believed Mark Harmon’s departure would mean the d3ath of NCIS. Johnson explained that the concerns were not only about fan reaction, but also about Harmon’s crucial role as the series’ anchor.

The ‘NCIS’ executive producer admits that Mark Harmon’s departure would be the ‘D3ath’ of the show.

For many years, when someone said NCIS, Mark Harmon’s name was nearly always the first to come to mind. For nearly two decades, he directed the immensely successful CBS cr1me drama, playing Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs.

Harmon, on the other hand, left the program in the early episodes of the 19th season in 2021.

Charles Floyd Johnson, one of the show’s executive producers, recently offered his thoughts on Harmon’s departure during a special retrospective commemorating NCIS’s 20th anniversary.

Johnson stated that the production team had long worried that Harmon’s departure would mean the end of the show.


“We thought [Harmon leaving] was the d3ath knell,” Johnson admitted. “Coming in at 6:30 a.m., five days a week, and being the major character that was the linchpin – that’s pretty tough, and he did it for 18 seasons.”

Johnson claimed that as Harmon approached his 70s, he wanted to spend more time with his wife, Pam Dawber, and their children.

According to Johnson, Harmon had been throwing signals about perhaps departing since the 15th or 16th season.

Mark Harmon has said his final goodbyes to CBS’s iconic cr1me drama.

Harmon’s time on NCIS was eventually extended for a couple more years. His decision was primarily motivated by his strong attachment to the series.

However, as the sitcom entered its 18th season, indications began to appear indicating his probable departure.

Harmon made his final appearance on the program in the 19th season, in the episode “Great Wide Open.” In that episode, his character Gibbs chose a peaceful life in Alaska, where he found solace for the first time since the devastating d3ath of his first wife and kid.

It’s anyone’s guess whether Harmon will return to NCIS as a guest or recurrent character.

While supporters would undoubtedly be thrilled to see him return, the decision is entirely up to him.

On a brighter note, fans may revisit Harmon’s classic performances as Gibbs through a Paramount+ membership, which includes access to multiple NCIS episodes.

‘NCIS’ executives feel this character salvaged the show.


Johnson went on to say how pleased they were to welcome Gary Cole as NCIS Supervisory Special Agent Alden Parker.

The NCIS chief credited Cole with reviving the show, expertly balancing continuity with just the proper amount of creativity to keep things interesting.

Johnson explained that other individuals were considered for the position. However, when the squad ultimately chose Cole, they did not offer the role as a simple replacement for Gibbs.

“We hit gold,” Johnson said about Cole’s casting.

This sophisticated approach was critical for Cole and the show’s viewers. Johnson indicated that the post was offered to Cole with a flexible scope. This technique allowed him to build his character without having to fill the shoes of a character who had been a staple of the series for nearly 20 years.

This decision, according to the producer, was a goldmine for the series. It couldn’t have come at a better moment.

Related News – Be sure to get some more news when it comes to NCIS.

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