‘NCIS’: Harrison Ford Nearly Played Leroy Jethro Gibbs Role Instead of Mark Harmon

by Robert Davis

Since 2003, NCIS has been a mainstay in many American living rooms. Fans fell in love with the hit crime drama because of its relatable characters and gripping storylines. But, some fans might be surprised to learn that Harrison Ford nearly played the role of Leroy Jethro Gibbs role over Mark Harmon.

According to the X-Ray feature on Amazon’s Prime Video, Ford, who rose to fame because of Star Wars and Indiana Jones, was on the shortlist of candidates to play Gibbs. A report by Express UK, Ford was in a bit of a slump at the time. His friends were urging him to pursue the role of Gibbs, but Ford stubbornly declined.

Ford’s Fit for the Role

Gibbs is the leader of the Major Chase Response Team. The team is tasked with investigating crimes related to drug trafficking, smuggling, homicide, or terrorism. According to the Express report, Ford’s agent also pushed him to pursue the role. The role isn’t very far off from the likes of Han Solo or Indiana Jones. This makes Ford’s decision not to pursue the role all that much more surprising.

NCIS even alludes to this in the first episode where Gibbs name-drops Ford and his movie Air Force One. Agent Gibbs refers to a Secret Service Agent that was a turncoat in the movie. Ironically, that agent’s name was also Agent Gibbs.

The show’s creator and showrunner, Don Bellisario, continued the joke by titling the first episode “Yankee White,” a codename reserved for people who work onboard Air Force Once.

Bellisario recently told Entertainment Weekly that he didn’t think Harmon was the “right fit” for the role either. He told the publication that he saw Harmon as a “pretty boy.” He thought his looks should disqualify him for a role that is grizzlier. But, by the time they were working on a JAG spinoff, Harmon had established himself and earned the role.

Major Character Shakeups

Like his teammates, fans see Gibbs as the one thing they can count on. However, it wasn’t too long ago that Harmon signaled his displeasure with the show.

The shocking Season 18 finale saw Agent Bishop, played by actress Emily Wickersham, depart the show. When the show was renewed for its 19th season in May, rumors had been circulating that Harmon wanted to leave. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Harmon and CBS executives may be negotiating a way for him to leave the show that makes sense for both parties.

Still, fans know there is no NCIS without Gibbs. For the time being, it seems that the executives at CBS also recognize this fact.