NCIS star Mark Harmon ended his run as a series regular on CBS’ long-running procedural drama NCIS on Monday night, with his character, Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs, opting out of a career in law enforcement.Gibbs and Special Agent Timothy McGee (Sean Murray) were out in Alaska in episode 1904, “Great Wide Open,” solving a case involving a contract killer hired by a local company. Following this, Gibbs informed his partner and NCIS Director Vance (Rocky Carroll) that he would be staying on The Last Frontier indefinitely.
McGee inquired as to what Gibbs was looking for in Alaska, to which he replied, “I don’t know.” My intuition tells me that I’ll know when I find it.”Gibbs stated that he feels a “sense of peace” there that he hasn’t felt since the deaths of his first wife Shannon (Darby Stanchfield) and daughter Kelly (Mary Mouser), and that he’s “not ready to let go.
“He then tells McGee that he “could not have hoped for anyone better” to have been watching his back for the past 18 years, prompting the pair to embrace.Gibbs’ decision to resign came on the heels of his Season 18 suspension for assaulting a murderer and dog abuser, as well as the boat explosion in the show’s finale, which nearly killed him.
NCIS EP/showrunner Steve Binder praised Harmon, who had led the series since its inception 18 years ago, in a statement tied to the episode’s airing, while also speaking about his future on the show. “As an executive producer and dear friend, Mark remains an integral part of the show’s fabric,” Binder said in a statement. “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.”
So, in terms of Gibbs’ future, as long-time fans of the show may have noticed over the years…never count Leroy Jethro Gibbs out.”Harmon’s departure as a series regular had appeared to be a matter of when rather than if for some time, given the scaling back of his on-screen duties and the addition of Gary Cole as series regular, Special Agent Park.While it’s unclear whether Harmon will return to NCIS, CBS Entertainment President Kelly Kahl echoed Binder’s statement in a Deadline interview last month.
“Mark has always been a part of the show, and Mark will always be a part of the show,” Kahl said. “In terms of his on-air appearances, we’ll just have to see how it plays out in the future.”
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