Should ‘NCIS’ End If Mark Harmon’s Gibbs Leaves?

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

Can the “NCIS” world exist without Mark Harmon in his long-standing starring role?

Harmon has played his popular character, Leroy Jethro Gibbs, for what is now 19 seasons. Over the years, Harmon has led different teams and characters to solve different crimes and murders.

Even with what seems like constantly changing cast members, the one constant on “NCIS” has always been Gibbs. Without a doubt, you can expect Gibbs to strut into the “NCIS” headquarters and say “grab your gear.”

‘NCIS’ Without Gibbs?

This has led certain “NCIS” fans to wonder if it would be best for the show to end once either Mark Harmon or Sean Muray leaves the program. Sean Murray plays Agent McGee, another character that has been on “NCIS” since almost the beginning of it all.

One Reddit post suggests that taking out another “OG” member of the team would be detrimental. “I know Mark Harmon is already phasing out but I personally show should end since that would only leave one member of the OG team left,” they wrote.

Other fans voted on whether or not this would make a difference in the future.

Many people seem to agree that “NCIS” may not be “NCIS” unless Gibbs is on board. “Could the show go on without Gibbs? Maybe.. but it would not be the same – and McGee is not Gibbs… although he has toughened up over the years. Without both of them – they would be better off ending it and then doing a cold reboot in 5 years – bringing in a completely new crew / new stories,” the person wrote.

The writers could definitely write around not having Gibbs on the program. The question is — would the ratings plummet and would people even want to stick around and watch?

Possible Replacement for Mark Harmon’s Character

Several fans also brought up an interesting possibility. That is, bringing back the popular character Tony DiNozzo, played by Michael Weatherly. “To be fair, I didn’t think of Tony until I read your comment. But… I wouldn’t mind him replacing Gibbs at all. In the end, it was Tony who inherited the Gibbs slap,” one user wrote.

Other fans also said replacing Gibbs is certainly possible. Unlike some other characters, Gibbs would just need a replacement introduced early on. Fans would need to get to know and form a connection with this other person before Gibbs is permanently off the show.

This is why many people thought Gary Cole, who plays Agent Parker, could be the future replacement for Gibbs. Although, “NCIS” writers have so far denied this rumor.

Other fans, however, are pretty adamant that no Harmon means no “NCIS.” Apparently, Mark Harmon was ready to step away from the show ahead of this season because his contract ended. However, he found out that if he were to leave, the show would likely be canceled. This seems to be a pretty good indicator to some fans that the show’s creators may not want “NCIS” without Harmon.

“Harmon leaves this show is done!” one fan wrote. Another person said Harmon was “irreplaceable.”

CBS executives seem to be sending the message that Harmon’s exit will mark a permanent end to the popular series. Whether or not that is irreversible after this season is up for discussion. Especially now that killing Gibbs seems like a very real possibility, according to recent episodes.