‘NCIS’: What Has Leroy Gibbs Actor Mark Harmon Been Up to Since Leaving the Show?

by Shelby Scott

NCIS producers have made it abundantly clear that unless the CBS show’s writers come up with a unique and captivating Leroy Jethro Gibbs-centric storyline, then his actor Mark Harmon won’t be reprising his role any time soon. After leaving the series following nearly two decades of commitment to his character last fall, fans are wondering, what the heck is the Gibbs actor up to these days since he’s, at least temporarily, retired from acting?

Well, as explained immediately following Harmon’s departure from NCIS, he hasn’t gone too far. While the beloved Leroy Jethro Gibbs may not be active on set in his character’s onscreen appearances, HELLO! magazine assures us that he continues to work as an executive producer behind the scenes of NCIS. In fact, when NCIS began to wrap its 19th season this past spring, longtime star Sean Murray (Special Agent Timothy McGee) revealed Harmon occasionally “shows his face” around the set.

“He does pop in,” the NCIS star said of the Leroy Jethro Gibbs actor in May. “I saw him two weeks ago actually. So, he’s around. It’s not like he’s packed up and left town or anything.”

In addition, NCIS showrunner Steven D. Binder also assured fans that the door is always open for his character to return. Amid Harmon’s exit in October 2021, Binder said, “As an executive producer and dear friend, Mark continues to be an integral part of the fabric of the show.”

Longtime NCIS fans know that Mark Harmon’s role transcends the beloved series itself. Before making his NCIS debut as Leroy Jethro Gibbs’ in the series pilot episode “Yankee White” in 2003, Harmon actually first appeared as Gibbs in the earlier series’ JAG, during two episodes in its eighth season.

Mark Harmon Speaks Out For the First Time Since Departing ‘NCIS’

Immediately after Mark Harmon departed his role as Gibbs, fans began clamoring for the character’s return, arguing about the success of his replacement, Alden Parker (Gary Cole) compared to the NCIS stalwart. Now though, months following his departure from the CBS series, Mark Harmon has finally spoken out. And here’s what he had to say about his exit.

“What has always drawn me here [to NCIS] is the character I play and to keep it fresh and to keep it challenging,” Harmon explained. “Plot-wise, this character has taken the path that it did. I thought it was honest and okay with.”

Harmon’s statement came as part of one of the bonus features included in the NCIS season 19 DVD box set. In addition, he also assured fans Gibbs is well, stating, “I’m not retired…The character is living in Alaska as far as I know.”

Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear as though Gibbs, despite that he is very much alive, will return to NCIS any time soon. That said, fans can at least look forward to an exciting all-new crossover event between NCIS and NCIS: Hawai’i when the shows premiere back to back on Monday, September 19th starting at 9 p.m. EST.