Mark Harmon NCIS
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Fans of the CBS show “NCIS” are in shock today after it was revealed that star Mark Harmon, 70, left the show after 18 years of playing the character Leroy Jethro Gibbs.

Harmon Leaves ‘NCIS’

The Hollywood Reporter reported that rumors had been swirling that Harmon was planning to exit the show ever since June, when he signed a deal to return for the show’s 19th season only in a limited capacity.

Last night’s episode, which was the fourth of season 19, ended with Gibbs deciding not to return to his job in NCIS after he was nearly killed in a boat explosion in the season 18 finale.

“I’m not going back, Tim,” Gibbs told Special Agent Timothy McGee (Sean Murray) in the episode. “I’m not going back home.”

Take a look:

Gibbs instead decided to stay in Alaska, where he and McGee had chased down a hitman hired by a mining company.

Related: ‘NCIS’ Fans Believe Pauley Perrette Is Lying About Mark Harmon Assault

Fans Share Their Grief

Some fans might stop watching NCIS since Gibbs is hanging it up. 

Some fans just want the show to be cancelled without Gibbs.

Door Open For Harmon To Come Back

Harmon will be remaining on the show, which is CBS’ long-running procedural drama, as an executive producer. Steven D. Binder, the program’s other executive producer and showrunner, left the door open for the character of Gibbs to return at some point in the future.

“As an executive producer and dear friend, Mark continues to be an integral part of the fabric of the show,” Binder said. “Our north star has always been staying true to our characters, and that truth has always guided the stories we tell and where those characters go. So regarding the future of Gibbs, as long-time fans of the show may have noticed over the years … never count Leroy Jethro Gibbs out.”

“Mark’s always been part of the show, Mark’s always going to be part of the show,” CBS Entertainment President Kelly Kahl recently told Deadline. “In terms of his on-air appearances, we’re just going to have to see how it plays out going forward.” 

Related: Pauley Perrette Is Livid CBS Fired “MacGyver” Showrunner Yet Mark Harmon Remains On “NCIS”

Harmon’s Previous Comments On Leaving

In 2019, Harmon talked to People Magazine about what would ultimately lead to him leaving the show.

“I’ve always thought if there’s ever a time where the writers are walking into the room and going ‘I don’t know what to do,’ then I think we all have to look at each other and call it a day,” he said at the time. “But we’re not there yet.”

Nevertheless, Harmon was nothing but grateful for how long the show has lasted. 

“I’ve been around long enough to know what this is,” he added. “That commitment is part of what I signed up for; I know when this show ends that’s it — there won’t be anything else like this for me.”

Harmon will be dearly missed by the millions of fans who have enjoyed watching him on “NCIS” every week for nearly two decades. We wish him the best of luck in his next endeavor! 

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