‘NCIS’: Is Show Setting Up Fornell’s Permanent Departure in Season 19?

by Anna Dunn

NCIS season 19 is a little over a month away, and there’s tons to speculate about. With so many cast members coming and going over the years, some are beginning to wonder if the show will say goodbye to Fornell permanently this year.

Fornell, played by Joe Spano, has been with the show since the start. He’s a recurring character, meaning that he doesn’t come back every episode. When he does, though, fans love it. The former FBI agent works closely with the NCIS team and is a very close friend of Agent Gibbs, played by Mark Harmon.

Fornell and Gibbs actually share the same ex-wife, and Fornell had a daughter with her. But tragedy struck last season. In NCIS season 18, Fornell’s daughter died of an overdose. Gibbs was there for him in those moments.

But thankfully, it doesn’t look like he’ll go anywhere despite the tragedy. He’ll also definitely be in season 19 at the very least. Showrunner Steven D. Binder confirmed his return on Twitter.

“I am pleased as punch to confirm for you that Fornell will be appearing soon,” Binder wrote in response to a fan.

The biggest reason this could be Fornell’s last season is it may be Gibbs’ last season. Gibbs actor Mark Harmon was reportedly eying an exit before finally agreeing to appear in a handful of episodes in season 19. There’s a chance Harmon won’t return at all for a potential season 20. Considering how close Fornell and Gibbs are, it’s hard to say whether or not Fornell will continue appearing on the show without Gibbs.

Still, this is all speculation. Fornell has outlasted characters like Ziva David, Anthony Dinozzo, and Abby Scuito. He could even outlast Gibbs.

‘NCIS’ Will Air Back to Back with a New Spinoff

CBS may have canceled ‘NCIS: New Orleans’ last year, but the franchise continues to grow. NCIS is moving timeslots from Tuesdays to Mondays to serve as a lead-in to a brand new NCIS series, NCIS: Hawai’i. NCIS: Hawai’i stars Vanessa Lachey, Jason Antoon, Yasmine Al-Bustami, and other talented actors.

When NCIS returns on Monday, September 20th at 9 pm ET, NCIS: Hawai’i will premiere for the first time right after. NCIS: Hawai’i will mark the third spinoff series for NCIS. NCIS: Los Angeles is still going strong, heading into season 13 this October.

But fans of the flagship series truly are waiting with bated breath when it comes to the future of not only characters like Fornell and Gibbs, but of the entire show.

But it looks like if the network can stop any major changes, the series isn’t going anywhere. NCIS is the top-rated scripted drama in the world and has held that spot for years. Hopefully, it’ll continue to do so with Fornell and Gibs even when season 19 is over.