Now that NCIS star Sean Murray has hinted that Mark Harmon’s Gibbs might return to the show, here are a few possibilities.
Here’s what might happen if Mark Harmon’s Gibbs ever returns to NCIS. Harmon has been a part of the NCIS family since the show debuted as a JAG spinoff in 2003, playing the steely-eyed leader of the procedural’s core team. The actor anchored the series and stood at the center of some of its most emotional storylines as Leroy Jethro Gibbs. This explains why, only four episodes into NCIS season 19, Gibbs left the team to stay behind in Alaska, having found the kind of peace he had long sought after the d3aths of his wife and daughter.
NCIS has made several references to Gibbs since his departure, but there hasn’t been much indication of his return. Harmon remains an important member of the show’s creative team as an executive producer and the first name in the opening credits. While NCIS has shifted its focus to welcome the team’s newest leader, Alden Parker (Gary Cole), to the action, it is clear that Gibbs continues to loom large for both the characters and CBS viewers.
Though nothing has been confirmed, it appears that Gibbs will return to NCIS in the future. Longtime NCIS series star Sean Murray recently commented on the possibility of Harmon making another appearance in the future, saying, “I really, truly believe that the Gibbs could pop up somewhere.” This is due to the fact that Harmon still visits the NCIS set and has ties to the show. Now that Murray has agreed to a possible Gibbs reappearance, the question becomes, what could possibly bring Gibbs back into the fray?
Given Gibbs’ fierce loyalty to those he cares about, it appears that the most likely reason for his return is that one of the main NCIS characters is in danger. Gibbs is known for going above and beyond for his team members, whether it’s traveling to Somalia on a near-impossible mission (as seen with Ziva David’s daring rescue in season 7) or getting involved in an undercover investigation for a friend when Tobias Fornell’s daughter d1ed. Gibbs would almost certainly return to help someone like Timothy McGee (Sean Murray) or Vance (Rocky Carroll) if NCIS seriously threatened them.
Another way to entice him back is to focus on a high-stakes plot that requires all hands on deck. However, assuming Harmon needs a compelling reason to appear on screen, a more personal and emotional story would be preferable.
NCIS has been renewed for at least one more season, so the season 19 finale will not be the series’ final episode. In addition, the finale will put a main character, Parker, in a difficult situation when he is falsely accused of murd3r. This is the type of plot premise that could entice Gibbs to return. Not to mention that a season finale would be an ideal setting for a surprise appearance. However, Gibbs and Parker on NCIS do not share the same bond that Harmon’s character has with, say, McGee, so the NCIS season 19 finale may not be the best place for him.
If CBS decides to end NCIS with season 20 or another season after that, the final episodes of this beloved series would also serve as an ideal return point for Gibbs, regardless of the story they tell. In other words, if Harmon wants to break Gibbs’ current happy ending, there are plenty of opportunities ahead for a possible reappearance.
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