NCIS Showrunner Steven D. Binder Speaks About Return of Mark Harmon’s Leroy Gibbs – ‘He Can Come Back, He’s Safe, He’s Happy’

Mark Harmon’s departure from ‘NCIS’ began in season 18. When Harmon requested to leave, the writers started crafting his exit, which culminated four episodes into season 19. Instead of k1lling off Gibbs or having him retire, they had him find peace in Alaska after solving his final case, sending Agent McGee back to Washington, DC.

In the NCIS Season 19 DVD special feature “Being Gibbs,” Harmon explains, “What has always drawn me here is the character I play and keeping it fresh and challenging. From a plot standpoint, this character chose the path that it did. ‘I’m not retired,’ I thought, was honest and acceptable. As far as I know, the character resides in Alaska.”

Gibbs Can Return, According To Showrunner Steven D. Binder.

Although Mark Harmon is no longer the face of ‘NCIS,’ he remains involved as an executive producer and has stated he hasn’t retired from acting. After nearly two decades as Gibbs, Harmon wanted to try something new.

Binder says the door is always open for Harmon’s return, which is why Gibbs’ character was left “nowhere” without specific details. “It just didn’t feel right seeing him retired and going grocery shopping, working in his basement, and playing checkers in the park… It just didn’t seem right to put him anywhere, so we put him nowhere,” Binder explained.

“He went off into the wild, into the wilderness.” This open-ended exit allows the audience to imagine Gibbs’ fate and leaves the option for his return. “He is secure. He’s content.”

Rule 91 Was The Reason for Gibbs’ Departure From ‘NCIS’

Gibbs’ departure from ‘NCIS’ was based on Rule 91: Never look back when you decide to walk away. Mark Harmon left the specifics to the writers, and executive producers David J. North and Brendan Fehily co-wrote his final episode. Fehily mentioned the emotional difficulty in writing and filming it, noting how many crew members were visibly moved during the process.

“The NCIS: The Nineteenth Season” DVD, featuring all 21 episodes and 45 minutes of special features, is now available. “NCIS” Season 20 premieres on CBS on Monday, September 19th.

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


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  1. I so await his return. I don’t watch it much currently as without Gibbs, it’s just not there! I hope he returns!

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