Monday’s episode of NCIS was Mark Harmon’s final one as the lead of the long-running CBS procedural. He exits the show after 18 years of playing Gibbs, dating back to the character’s introduction on JAG in 2003.
Speculation around Harmon’s exit has swirled for several months. He signed a deal to continue with NCIS (on which he’s also an executive producer) for its 19th season, but that deal was only to return in a limited capacity, as The Hollywood Reporter noted in June.
Break out the hankies! Tonight, Mark Harmon said goodbye to his role as Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs on NCIS, and it is an episode full of moments that brought tears to the eyes of viewers as they said goodbye to this longtime TV favorite character.
Of course, it may not be the last we ever see of him. Steven D. Binder, Executive Producer/Showrunner, NCIS, released the following statement by way of encouragement: “As an executive producer and dear friend, Mark continues to be an integral part of the fabric of the show. Our north star has always been staying true to our characters, and that truth has always guided the stories we tell and where those characters go. So, regarding the future of Gibbs, as long-time fans of the show may have noticed over the years…never count Leroy Jethro Gibbs out.”
This seasons-long mystery is solved in Mark Harmon‘s final episode as the star of NCIS, which finds Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs finding a little peace after decades of struggle. Are you ready to say goodbye with me?
The episode opens with Parker kicking down the door at Chez Gibbs to serve an arrest warrant, and that’s where we discover a big ol’ hole in the wall of Gibbs’ basement. It wasn’t done with Gibbs’ usual finesse, but it’s certainly big to navigate a boat through.
With that declaration from Gibbs, made while peacefully casting a line into an Alaskan bay, CBS’ NCIS this Tuesday night announced series lead Mark Harmon’s exit after more than 18 seasons.
Harmon reportedly was ready to hang up Gibbs’ cap after last season, but learned that if he did so, CBS might not renew NCIS at all. As such, he agreed to return in a limited capacity. TVLine later reported that Harmon was expected back for only “a few” episodes.
In “Great Wide Open,” Gibbs (Harmon) and McGee (Sean Murray) head to Alaska as part of the investigation into the company that hired hitman Paul Lemere (Jason Wiles), Sonova, to take out anyone who could block them building a copper mine. With their work there and the others on the case back home, they find proof that Sonova’s CEO Sonia Eberhart (Valarie Pettiford) is behind it, working with the husband of one of the victims (he was in it for the money). But to McGee’s surprise, Gibbs drops a bombshell on him as he readies to head home: He’s not going with him. He does’t want his badge back. Gibbs stays in Alaska! Mark Harmon just left NCIS!
On Monday’s episode of CBS’ long-running procedural, the longtime star has exited the series after more than 18 seasons. Harmon’s reduced presence and potential exit had been speculated ever since the drama was picked up for a 19th season.
How did NCIS write him out? With Harmon’s Leroy Jethro Gibbs no longer with a warrant out for his arrest, the former NCIS head technically could return to work. But, as NCIS Director Leon Vance (Rocky Carroll) revealed to Nick Torres (Wilmer Valderrama) and Jessica Knight (Katrina Law), he simply could not convince Gibbs to take back his badge. “He doesn’t want it,” Vance simply said.
On Monday night, NCIS star Mark Harmon ended his run as a series regular on CBS’ long-running procedural drama, with his character, Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs, opting out of a future in law enforcement.
Episode 1904, “Great Wide Open,” saw Gibbs and Special Agent Timothy McGee (Sean Murray) out in Alaska, solving a case involving a contract killer hired by a local company. In the aftermath, Gibbs informed his partner and NCIS Director Vance (Rocky Carroll) that he’d be staying out on The Last Frontier indefinitely.