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Fans were devastated last year when Mark Harmon departed the CBS television drama “NCIS” after 19 seasons. Since then, he’s stayed very quiet about his departure from the show – until now.

Full Story: Mark Harmon Bids Farewell To ‘NCIS’ After 18+ Seasons

‘I’m Not Retired’

In a new interview to promote the upcoming DVD release of season 19 of “NCIS,” Harmon addressed the legacy of his character, NCIS Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs. 

“What has always drawn me here is the character I play and to keep it fresh and to keep it challenging,” Harmon, 70, told Entertainment Tonight. “Plot-wise, this character has taken the path that it did. I thought it was honest and OK with.”

Harmon went on to assure fans that Gibbs is still very much alive, and enjoying living a quieter life.

“I’m not retired… The character is living in Alaska as far as I know,” he said.

Harmon’s Final Episode

In Harmon’s last episode, Gibbs is seen fishing in Alaska, telling his protege McGee that he would not be coming back to work and adding that he was “not sure” how long he’d be away. 

“My gut’s telling me, I’ll know when I find it,” Gibbs said, referring to what he’s looking for. “This sense of peace, I have not had this since Shannon and Kelly died and I’m not ready to let it go.” 

He then handed over the unofficial rains of the “NCIS” office to McGee. 

“I could not have hoped for anyone better to watch my back for the past 18 years than you,” he said to McGee.

Relive this scene for yourself in the video below.

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

Executive Producer Weighs In

Executive producer Chas. Floyd Johnson weighed in on Gibbs’ future in a new interview, saying that while Alaska was a “very odd place for Gibbs to go,” it doesn’t mean fans have seen the last of him. 

“I thought was a nice way to end the show where the audience felt ‘We’re comfortable where he is,’” Johnson said, according to TODAY. “But I think the smart thing, we left it to the fact that we didn’t know if Gibbs could return. He didn’t say I’ll never come back. There was sort of a hope that if there’s ever a need, we might see Gibbs again.”

Executive producer and showrunner Steven D. Binder has let the door open for Harmon to return to “NCIS” in the future, should he be interested in doing so.

‘Never Count Leroy Jethro Gibbs Out’

“As an executive producer and dear friend, Mark continues to be an integral part of the fabric of the show. 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,” Binder said after his departure was announced.

“So regarding the future of Gibbs, as longtime fans of the show may have noticed over the years… never count Leroy Jethro Gibbs out,” he added.

Here’s hoping that we haven’t seen the last of Gibbs, and of Harmon! 

“NCIS: The Nineteenth Season” is set to be released next Tuesday, August 16. You can also start watching season 20 of “NCIS” when it premieres on CBS next month on September 19.