‘NCIS’: What Will Gibbs Actor Mark Harmon’s Role Look Like in Season 19?

by Suzanne Halliburton

There are so many NCIS questions regarding Leroy Jethro Gibbs and season 19. It’s going to be an antsy TV summer.

Maybe Mark Harmon, as Gibbs, should scribble down another one of his rules and stick it in the tin. We’ll call it rule No. 103: “Don’t waste time speculating on questions when it’s impossible to know the answers.” But what fun is that, right?

Just by the clues NCIS provided in the finale, we know season 19 should open with a different look. Unless there’s a huge time skip, Gibbs is still suspended, dating back to an episode earlier in the spring. And either he faked his own death or somebody tried to kill him by blowing up his boat. Either of those details will have a significant impact on what role Gibbs will have in season 19.

Reality also is going to dictate Gibbs’ part in NCIS. Mark Harmon signed another contract, but it’s being reported he doesn’t want a full-time presence on the show. In fact, Harmon didn’t want to do another season at all, but CBS executives said they’d cancel the show, rather than writing out his character, which is one of the most visible on network television.

Most Likely, Whatever Role Gibbs Has On NCIS Will Be Limited

Gibbs might be in only a handful of episodes in season 19, possibly only as cameos. But it was important for CBS to keep the show on the air, even with Harmon’s screen time at a minimum. NCIS has the largest viewership in the world. And going into its 19th season, it is also closing in on some major TV records. Law & Order: SVU, with 22 years, is the longest-running prime-time drama in TV history. Gunsmoke and the original Law & Order each were on for 20 seasons.

A main question about season 19 is who will be the team leader of NCIS. As we noted, Gibbs still was suspended after he beat up a man for abusing dogs. And if he faked his own death, he’s probably not calling the shots with the team. There also is speculation that Gibbs may be joining Ellie Bishop in a deep undercover assignment. Bishop needed to destroy her career to be believable for the mission. If the outside world believes Gibbs is dead, he could really be useful as an undercover guy.

That leaves agent Timothy McGee, played by Sean Murray, as the likely leader, however temporary. In terms of NCIS show experience, McGee’s character has the second-longest run behind Gibbs. He seems a likely replacement. Gibbs ad McGee also worked closely together on most every case.

Then there’s team newbie Jessica Knight. She’s played by Katrina Law. Knight joined the NCIS team in DC after she was the lone survivor when her own squad was killed in an explosion. She’s well-liked by the higher-ups, who bragged about her interrogation skills in the season 18 finale. And the others on the team like her, too.