Michael Keaton Says He Admires Old Friend Mark Harmon’s ‘Tough’ Run on ‘NCIS’

by Shelby Scott

After playing Leroy Jethro Gibbs on NCIS for just over 18 years, Mark Harmon has earned himself a massive fanbase. However, even more significantly, the beloved actor has also earned a fan and friend in Batman icon Michael Keaton. Now, months following the Gibbs actor’s departure from the hit CBS drama, Keaton spoke out about his friend’s “tough” run.

During an interview with Variety, Keaton shared major praise for actors that can commit to a long-running, singular project for so many years. He specifically referenced Mark Harmon. To the outlet, he said, “I really admire all those folks that do those hour-long shows that are years and years and years. It’s tough to do.”

NCIS first aired in 2003. There, fans were introduced to Mark Harmon as Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs. It became the first of 435 NCIS episodes that would feature Agent Gibbs. However, the character actually made his first TV appearance before NCIS, with Harmon featuring in an episode of JAG.

Less seriously, the Batman actor joked that while that kind of commitment is tough, stars like Mark Harmon “get really, freakin’ rich!”

In fact, before Harmon departed NCIS, the outlet states he was one of the top-paid TV actors at the time. During the interview, Keaton additionally recalled the time he bought one of his friend’s restored vehicles, a 1956 Ford pickup.

“Every time I think of [Mark Harmon], I think, ‘How much money does he have? He must have so much money!”

Will Mark Harmon Appear In ‘NCIS’ Season 20?

Mark Harmon officially departed his role on NCIS during the fourth episode of season 19 entitled, “Great Wide Open.” Finally, after 19 years, the character’s storyline saw a kind of happy ending, leaving the former special agent fishing in Alaska and finally seeing the peace he’d been searching for since his wife and daughter were killed long before the timeline of NCIS. Now, with the milestone 20th season on the horizon, can fans expect even a brief return from the beloved character?

So far, it seems we’re out of luck. Last month, the beloved cast of NCIS, including Wilmer Valderrama, Brian Dietzen, and Diona Reasonover, took to Instagram to share their excitement about the start of filming for the all-new season. Missing from those photos, unsurprisingly, was Mark Harmon, however, they also lacked a familiar face in Alden Parker actor Gary Cole. Though, for fans who caught the NCIS season 19 finale, that comes as no surprise.

The last we saw of Gary Cole’s character, he had gone on the run after becoming framed for murder alongside his ex-wife and FBI agent Vivian Kolchak. At the last second, though, the tables seemed to turn as, by all appearances, it looks like Kolchak is actually working with the show’s antagonist.

NCIS returns for its 20th season on Monday, September 19th at 9 p.m. followed by rookie spinoff NCIS: Hawai’i at 10. Check back at American Entertainment for all Mark Harmon and NCIS news and updates.