‘NCIS’: Did Gibbs Just Die in a Massive Explosion at the End of Season 18 Finale?

by Suzanne Halliburton

There were rumors Mark Harmon was leaving NCIS. And the end of Tuesday’s season finale left it up in the air whether Leroy Jethro Gibbs is returning for season 19 of the CBS drama.

The episode literally ended in a big blast. Gibbs was out on a tranquil lake on a beautiful day. Tom Petty’s Runnin Down a Dream was on blast. Gibbs already had said in the episode it was one of his favorite songs.

And the name of his boat “Rule 91” offered a big clue. Bishop asked Gibbs the meaning of Rule 91. He told her, “When you decide to walk away, don’t look back.”

So it appeared Gibbs was riding off into the sunset of an NCIS career. Then his boat blew up.

However, the final scene of the NCIS episode showed Gibbs moving his arms. Could he being swimming away? Did Gibbs blow up his own boat to fake his own death? Because he definitely looked alive in the final moments.

NCIS Fan Theory Suggests Gibbs Is Going Undercover with Bishop

Here’s another fan theory. Gibbs will be joining Bishop on her new undercover assignment. Bishop, figuratively speaking, blew up her own NCIS career during the episode, planting leaked NSA documents at the home of a gun runner.

The episode revealed she was now working for Odette, a one-time covert associate of Ziva’s. Bishop, at Odette’s urging, told Torres goodbye. Torres figured out Bishop needed to be a disgraced NCIS agent for her next assignment to work.

Wilmer Valderrama, who plays Torres, told TVLine that there would be an “explosive” ending to the episode He wasn’t kidding. He also described the ending as “unpredictable,” “badass” and a “really emotional, controversial type of episode.” Yes to all of those adjectives. Potentially killing off the lead character of a show that’s been on the air for 18 seasons is significant.

“There are things going on that the fans have been dying to see,” Valderrama told TVLine. “And there are some answers they’ve been seeking. People are going to get answers to many of the questions.”

Or, Did Gibbs Fake His Death to Find Serial Killer?

Or, as it appears, Gibbs was alive and in control at the end, so he’s not dead. He’d been serving an NCIS suspension and was seriously thinking about walking away from the job. However, Gibbs also had been working on a serial murder case. NCIS brought on Mark Harmon’s wife, Pam Dawber, to play Marcie. She’s an investigative journalist who was working on the murder case.

Gibbs and Marcie met throughout the episode. He figured out the murderer likely knew the two were on his trail. Gibbs discovered a bug in his basement and one at Marcie’s place.

He and Marcie both went to a nearby lake, which supposedly had been a dumping spot for a dead woman’s body. But Gibbs figured out that the body likely was buried on an island in the lake that was only accessible by boat.

That’s probably where he was going when his boat blew up. But that was a whole lot of explosive drama for a murder case.

Mark Harmon signed a new contract with NCIS earlier this spring, so the show is a go for the 19th season. What’s unclear is how many episodes Gibbs will appear in next season. And the finale did nothing to answer that question.