NCIS has been on TV for almost two decades, and it sounds like lead actor Mark Harmon wants out. Harmon has extended his contract through season 19, even though it’s rumored he wanted to leave the show this year.
Apparently, Harmon went to CBS with his plans to leave. The network supposedly said they would have to cancel the show without him. It would be difficult to pull off a successful NCIS season without Harmon.
But it’s clear that Harmon’s exit is coming sooner rather than later. After so long playing the same character, it makes sense to want to pursue new horizons. Kelly Kahl, president of CBS Scripted Entertainment, didn’t confirm the exact rumors to Deadline, however, he did have a lot to say regarding Harmon.
“We take it year by year with Mark,” he said. “We’d love to have him as long as he’d like to be here.”
But how, exactly, would NCIS say goodbye to Harmon? One of the darker routes they could take would be killing Jethro Gibbs off. It would make it near impossible for Harmon to return to the show through guest appearances.
It’s also not completely off the table. Yes, it would be a dark option, but NCIS has killed off characters in the past.
Adding to the speculation that Harmon is planning on leaving the show are rumors that actor Gary Cole is in talks for a major role on the series. Could Cole become a potential replacement for Harmon?
There are also plenty of ways to get rid of Gibbs without killing his character off.
Will ‘NCIS’ End After Season 19?
Another option for writing Gibbs off is wrapping up the show. While the prospect is a sad one to think of, the show has had almost twenty fantastic years on TV. Ending the show with Mark Harmon’s departure could make sense, but NCIS is a ratings powerhouse for CBS.
Because of that, it’s hard to believe CBS would end its highest-rated drama if there was any possible way to salvage it. While Harmon would certainly be the biggest blow, NCIS has lost multiple beloved characters in the past. This includes fan-favorite Abby Scuito.
And yet, the show is still going strong. A bigger possibility is that NCIS will find a way to write Gibbs off. Hopefully, he won’t be killed off. Anyone rooting for Gibbs to peacefully retire on a sandy beach somewhere? Please?
Thankfully, that season 18 cliffhanger that saw Gibbs faking his own death won’t be the last you see of him. While he reportedly won’t be in many episodes, Mark Harmon will be back for CBS’s broadcast season in the fall. NCIS will air along with two spinoffs, NCIS: Los Angeles and NCIS: Hawai’i.