HomeEntertainment‘NCIS’: First Episode After Mark Harmon’s Exit Sees Return of Familiar Character

‘NCIS’: First Episode After Mark Harmon’s Exit Sees Return of Familiar Character

by Lauren Boisvert
Photo: Cliff Lipson/CBS ©2021 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Mark Harmon’s Gibbs is officially off NCIS. Maybe forever, maybe not, but it’s clear that the character has met his natural conclusion, staying in Alaska where he’s found peace and a quiet mind.

The next NCIS episode, airing tonight Monday Oct. 18, features a character we thought maybe we wouldn’t see again. Called “Face the Strange,” episode 5 involves a bomber and a body that blows up before Jimmy Palmer can examine it. With no body and no evidence, how will the team continue the case?

As for the team itself, there are some big changes now that Gibbs left. But they’re changes fans kind of wanted to see anyway; McGee is now in charge of the team. Little probie, working his way up the ladder. It’s nice to see that one of the old guard is getting that position, instead of sticking Jessica Knight or Alden Parker in the captain’s chair. Something about putting an unfamiliar character in Gibbs’ position felt wrong, somehow. But, McGee deserves it.

Speaking of familiar characters, there’s one who seemed like he’d only be around for Gibbs’ farewell arc. I’m talking about Alden Parker, Gary Cole’s character. In the previous episode, “Great Wide Open,” the FBI fired Alden Parker for assisting Gibbs instead of arresting him. So, he proved himself to be not such a thorn in the side after all. But, maybe “Great Wide Open” would be his last appearance. Fired from the FBI, how could he join the NCIS team? That’s got to look bad on the resume.

Well, it turns out, Alden Parker is back, but not in any official capacity. He’s just a regular citizen now, but one who’s helping the NCIS with a case. So, not such a regular citizen. Will he turn to private investigating like Fornell did after leaving the FBI? It’s possible. Only the new episode will tell.

Will ‘NCIS’ Fans Stick Around Now That Gibbs Is Gone?

Fans have been worrying about Gibbs leaving since season 18, when Mark Harmon expressed his desire to step away from the character. But now that it actually happened and Gibbs left, some fans are saying they’re gone, too.

On fan wrote on Twitter that it would be their last time watching the show. “There is no #NCIS without Gibbs,” they wrote. Another fan shared a similar sentiment, commenting, “NCIS is Gibbs. He goes, I go.”

It’s important now that the ratings stay up for NCIS, or it could be canceled before we reach that 500 episode milestone. It would be great to see the show end on its own terms, instead of being canceled by the network. Time will tell, though, if fans do stick around for the rest of the season.