For many fans, Harmon is NCIS, and vice versa. But with all of the news coming out in recent months about the changes going on at the CBS procedural, many fans fear season 19 will be the beginning of the end.
The ‘NCIS’ star will have a limited role in season 19
For months, rumors swirled that Harmon was “ready to leave” the series he’s starred in since 2003. But when he was informed that CBS was prepared to cancel NCIS if he retired, Harmon decided to negotiate a new deal and save the series from cancelation.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the 69-year-old signed a one-year deal to return to NCIS for season 19. However, he will only appear in a limited capacity. Just like David McCallum (Dr. Ducky Mallard) did a few seasons back, Harmon is cutting down his workload and will have a reduced amount of screen time.
Agent Gibbs doesn’t seem interested in returning to his team
For many fans, the final moments of the explosive season 18 finale plus the news of Harmon’s limited role in the upcoming season are indications that they are setting the stage for Agent Gibbs’ exit.
In the final seconds of the season, he was on his boat “Rule 91” when it exploded. Gibbs was seemingly killed off the show until he managed to swim away at the last second, confirming he’s alive.
However, he made it very clear in the final episodes of season 18 that he wasn’t interested in returning to NCIS after being suspended “indefinitely.” Instead of apologizing so he could get his badge and gun back, Gibbs seemingly opted for retirement.
Fans are afraid this could be the beginning of the end for ‘NCIS’
Harmon may have agreed to return for season 19 to save the series from cancelation. But, his reduced presence has many fans convinced this is the beginning of the end for NCIS. Without Gibbs in the lead, can the series continue? Fans aren’t so sure.
“Does anyone believe NCIS can continue to have great ratings or even survive without Mark Harmon’s Leroy Jethro Gibbs?” one fan asked on Twitter.
Another added, “Respectfully if Mr. Harmon wants to step away, his choice should be respected & it’s best to end the series with a proper happy ending for him/Gibbs. #MarkHarmon.”
Katrina Law and Gary Cole become series regulars
Another fan pointed out that the changing cast is an indication that NCIS will soon be coming to an end. With Harmon having a reduced role and Emily Wickersham (Agent Bishop) leaving the series, NCIS will be adding two new series regulars.
The CBS procedural will welcome Hawaii Five-0 alum Katrina Law to the cast as Agent Jessica Knight. Fans first met her during the final episodes of season 18. The upcoming season will also see the debut of TV vet Gary Cole, but details about his character are being kept quiet.
“So the gist is that Mark Harmon will be on a reduced schedule like David McCallum and they hope [Gary] Cole will somehow fill the void. I predict the upcoming season is the final season,” one Redditor wrote. “Sadly, this is the downhill slide of the show just like CSI once they phased Grissom out.”
‘NCIS’ executive producer promises ‘one of the best seasons yet’
Even though the future of NCIS and its longtime lead remains unknown, executive producer Steven D. Binder is promising a fantastic season. After the pandemic cut down seasons 17 and 18, he says they are coming back stronger than ever for season 19.
“We haven’t shot a single frame quite yet, but with the addition of Gary Cole and Katrina Law to the cast, this is already shaping up to be one of the best seasons yet,” Binder told Deadline. “Going into season 19, we are excited to have new characters and stories to tell that adds to and re-energizes the world we’ve come to love over the 400-plus episodes.”
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