NCIS Showrunner Steven Binder has issued a statement confirming Mark Harmon’s exit from the long series. The actor recently left the series during the fourth episode of the current season, effectively retired NCIS‘longtime main character. The hit procedure was a staple of CBS ‘lineup since 2003.
NCIS is currently in the middle of its 19th season, hand-dwarfing the course of I – the series NCIS torn off by. One side of the CSI Book, the series focuses on the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, a team of agents conducting criminal investigations and top-secret missions related to crimes related to the Navy and Marine Corps. At the heart of the show’s ever-growing cast was Harmon as Leroy Gibbs, a former Marine sniper and gruff leader on the show’s central team.
Deadline reported that Harmon’s long-awaited exit from NCIS finally happened this week with the debut of the season 19 episode, “Great Wide Open”, after years of fans wondering when and when Harmon would leave the series. The episode saw Leroy Gibbs decide to stay in Alaska to find peace for himself while his partner McGee (Sean Murray) flew home. According to Deadline, in a statement on Harmon’s exit from the series, Steven Binder paid tribute to the legacy of the actor in the series. Read what Binder said below:
As an executive producer and dear friend, the brand continues to be an integral part of the show’s fabric. Our North Star has always remained faithful to our characters, and the truth has always guided the stories we tell and where these characters go. So as far as Gibbs’ future is concerned, as longtime fans of the show have noticed over the years … never mind Leroy Jethro Gibbs.
Harmon’s departure from NCIS is possibly the biggest output of the series so far, but it is far from the first. In fact, many of the NCIS old guard left the show well before Harmon. Such events include Michael Weatherly’s Anthony DiNozzo, Pauley Perrette’s Abby Sciuto, and Cote de Pablo’s Ziva David. However, Harmon’s departure was particularly gradual, as the actor increasingly withdrew from his role and shifted more responsibility to other actors – in particular Gary Cole as a recently added series regular, Special Agent Park.
It’s bittersweet to see Harmon officially leave as Gibbs, but it may also help to turn NCIS and the future. As mentioned before, Gibbs’ role in the series has been steadily declining in the last episode. A formal outing for the longtime Special Agent may be what NCIS must redefine and refresh itself for a new generation, especially without formal replacement and sight. It’s clear that the door will remain open for Gibbs to return if Harmon ever wants to, but now NCIS gets to figure out what it can be without him.
NCIS will be broadcast on CBS on Monday.
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