‘NCIS’: Is Show Hinting at Mark Harmon’s Full Exit After Season 19?

by John Jamison

Gearing up for the 19th season of “NCIS,” Leroy Gibbs actor Mark Harmon has time off on his mind. Since the show started in 2003, Harmon has led the Washington D.C.-based NCIS Major Case Response Team. Now, with more than 400 episodes under his belt, the actor is set for a reduced role in the upcoming season. But does stepping out of the spotlight mean he’ll soon be gone for good?

Mark Harmon has enjoyed a long and accomplished career in acting. In some respects, he has been a pioneer. He played Dr. Robert Caldwell on “St. Elsewhere” in the mid-1980s. Caldwell was one of the first major characters on a TV show to be depicted contracting AIDS. There was hardly a time after that role when the “NCIS” star wasn’t busy. However, none of his characters can stack up to the longevity Harmon has found in Leroy Gibbs on the hit crime drama.

Production Begins on Season 19 of the Iconic Show

In recent days, it has been revealed that the cast and crew of “NCIS” have begun production on Season 19 of the show. With everyone from writer Christopher J. Waild to Jimmy Palmer actor Brian Dietzen chiming in to celebrate the work on social media, fans can’t help but wonder about the future. Is Mark Harmon just as excited? Or is it possible that the near two decades he has spent in the role have motivated him to find a new challenge?

Mark Harmon’s character nearly died at the end of Season 18. But despite his boat exploding, Gibbs is still alive. This means that there’s a high likelihood of fans getting at least a little bit of the iconic character in Season 19.

Further, the show has been given a new time slot. And another “NCIS” offering in the Hawai’i-based iteration of the show marks even more change for the long-running drama.

All ‘NCIS’ Signs Point Towards an Imminent Departure for Mark Harmon

So there’s a new day for episode premieres and an entirely new show in the same universe. But there is more reason to believe that “NCIS” is preparing for a Mark Harmon departure.

With the absence of Emily Wickersham and reduced appearances from the Leroy Gibbs actor, the show brought in some new talent. If well-received, the new additions could make for a Harmon-ious transition to a Gibbs-less show.

Gary Cole and Katrina Law will make their respective debuts in Season 19.

“We haven’t shot a single frame quite yet, but with the addition of Gary Cole and Katrina Law to the cast, this is already shaping up to be one of the best seasons yet. Going into season 19, we are excited to have new characters and stories to tell that adds to and reenergizes the world we’ve come to love over the 400+ episodes,” showrunner Stephen J. Binder told Deadline in June.