‘NCIS’ Showrunner Says Show Needs ‘the Right Story’ To Bring Gibbs Back

by Samantha Whidden

Months after the departure of Mark Harmon’s “NCIS” character Leroy Jethro Gibbs, the showrunner of the long-time series revealed what it will take for the former main character to return. 

 Executive producer Steven D. Binder spoke about Gibbs’ future appearances on “NCIS” by telling TV Insider, “There’s always headspace for him to come back. It just has to be the right story, I think, to get him excited about it and to get us excited about it. It’s a card to play, and I don’t think we want to play it cheaply.”

The “NCIS” showrunner also said that other shows tend to wait maybe a year or two to bring a character back. “And we work on a different timeline than other shows. We just, for rightly or wrongly, operate on a much longer time scale for these things than other shows do.”

Binder explained that while Gibbs has not been seen since his “NCIS” exit, his presence is still very much felt in the series. This includes multiple mentions of the character. “Gibbs put his stamp on the team in a huge way, and it’s gonna take more than a year for that to fade. I wouldn’t want it to fade because if I can’t have Gibbs, I still love having his presence in there.”

In regards to what the “NCIS” character is up to, the showrunner replied, “I feel like we left Gibbs in this magical place, and as this magical being who – I don’t want to think of Gibbs in an apartment or in another house or with another woman. I almost don’t want to think of him that way. I saw him in a river, happy, which I never see him as smiling with a knife in his pocket and risk in the boat.”

‘NCIS’ Showrunner Talks Keeping Mark Harmon’s Name in the Opening Credits 

Along with discussing Gibbs’ fate, Binder reveals why the “NCIS” crew decided to leave Mark Harmon’s name in the opening credits. “That was a function of the fact that we, although the season’s [ended] and Mark will not have appeared in any more episodes, that was not anything that was a decided thing, so he remained in the credits because we didn’t kill him.”

Binder also reassured that the “NCIS” character will be in a certain amount of episodes. “He’s in the same amount of episodes I think David McCallum was in, who’s in the credits and we just kept continuing because Mark could have easily in another five or six episodes.”

The showrunner then added that everyone has to talk to everybody and see how people feel about removing Harmon from the “NCIS” credits. “Do we want to make a more definitive step one way or the other? I’ll have a more definitive answer for that once we actually have to build the title sequence because that’s really our deadline. And we don’t do that until July, August.”