The end of an era has arrived. After more than 18 seasons on “NCIS,” where he played Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs, Mark Harmon has left the show. Gibs and Special Agent Timothy McGee (Sean Murray) traveled to Alaska to solve a case in Season 19, Episode 4 titled “Great Wide Open,” but McGee returned alone. After solving the murd3r, Gibbs informed his partner and NCIS Director Vance (Rocky Carroll) that he would be relocating permanently to Alaska.
“I’m not returning, Tim,” Gibbs said to McGee (per The Hollywood Reporter). “I’m not returning home.” Viewers were disappointed to see Harmon’s iconic character leave the show after the episode aired on October 11. “NO! I don’t want Gibbs to go “One fan shared a GIF of a woman crying on Twitter. “Without him, NCIS isn’t NCIS.” Though Harmon’s departure may have come as a surprise to some, the actor was expected to leave the show after Season 18.
A source told TVLine in June that Harmon episodes would be “in the low single digits” for Season 19. As a result, when Special Agent Gibbs announced his departure, some “NCIS” fans were not taken aback. “Even though we knew this was going to happen, it still feels surreal, and I don’t think #ncis will be the same,” one Twitter user admitted. But why did Harmon leave? What’s more, will his character ever return from Alaska?
Is Mark Harmon’s exit from ‘NCIS’ permanent?
“NCIS” showrunner Steve Binder elaborated on Mark Harmon’s bittersweet departure from the show following the October 11 episode. Binder’s statement, which was posted on the official “NCIS” Instagram account, reveals that Harmon will not be leaving the show entirely, as he will retain his executive producer title. “As an executive producer and dear friend, Mark remains an integral part of the show’s fabric,” the showrunner wrote.
“Staying true to our characters has always been our north star, and that truth has always guided the stories we tell and where those characters go.” He also did not rule out the possibility of Special Agent Gibbs returning. “As long-time fans of the show may have noticed over the years, never count Leroy Jethro Gibbs out when it comes to Gibbs’ future.”
In a September interview, CBS entertainment president Kelly Kahl expressed similar sentiments to Binder about Harmon’s future on the popular show. “Mark has always been a part of the show, and Mark will always be a part of the show,” Kahl said (per Deadline). “In terms of his on-air appearances, we’ll just have to see how it plays out in the future.” At the time of writing, Harmon had not commented on his departure from “NCIS.” Keep an eye out for updates!
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