If you come across an “NCIS” fan today, Outsiders, check in on them. Ask how they’re holding up. It’s been a rough week for them already. After 18 years on the show, Leroy Jethro Gibbs actor Mark Harmon finally made his exit.
Just because we sort of knew it was coming doesn’t make it any easier. Of course, nothing was set in stone until Monday’s Season 19 episode “Great Wide Open” confirmed what fans had been dreading. Mark Harmon has led “NCIS” since the show began in 2003. Ahead of the current season, news broke suggesting Harmon only signed on in a limited capacity. He was to be, in essence, a guest star on the show he’d been the face of for nearly two decades.
In an emotional moment with Sean Murray’s Timothy McGee character, Gibbs explained, fishing rod in hand, that he didn’t want to take his badge back.
“This sense of peace, I have not had this since Shannon and Kelly died, and I’m not ready to let it go,” Harmon’s iconic character said during the episode.
I’m actually heart broken about mark harmon leaving NCIS…but he’s worked so hard his whole life and deserve the chance to enjoy it without being in front of the screens…good luck mark! #MarkHarmon #NCIS— Special Agent Lynam♏ (@RawrLittlePanda) October 12, 2021
Through the first few weeks of “NCIS” Season 19, fans held out a glimmer of hope. Yesterday, many were left with salty water welling up in their eyes. The rumors were true. Mark Harmon’s Leroy Gibbs and “NCIS” are no more. Naturally, fans took to the internet to share their feelings.
Even thought we knew this was happening, it feels surreal and I still don’t think #NCIS will be the same. Others can come and go but Mark Harmon/Gibbs IS the foundation of NCIS https://t.co/aijRntsvWg— ReeRee (@Grumma_Ree) October 12, 2021
Wait! There’s Still Hope, ‘NCIS’ Fans
It’s not all bad news. For one, Mark Harmon is reportedly staying on the “NCIS” team as a producer of the show. However, one has to wonder what kind of lifespan the long-running series will have now that its iconic star is gone.
If the show does continue for a few more seasons, a Gibbs return is not out of the question.
“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,” executive producer Steven Binder told The Hollywood Reporter. “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.”