Rumors have been swirling for weeks that NCIS star Mark Harmon is ready to leave the series after season 18. The actor has played Special Agent in Charge Leroy Jethro Gibbs since the procedural premiered in 2003, starring in more than 400 episodes.
Both Harmon and CBS have remained tight lipped about his future on the series. However, there have been times when the actor has addressed leaving the show.
Mark Harmon said that everyone is replaceable on ‘NCIS’
There have been numerous cast changes during the 18 seasons that NCIS has been on the air. The only OG’s remaining on the series are Harmon and David McCallum (Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard). Sean Murray also made his debut as McGee in season 1 as a recurring character. But, he didn’t join the main cast until season 2.
Harmon has been the team leader since day one. And, it’s hard for many fans to imagine anyone else taking his place. But according to the actor, everyone is replaceable.
“I really believe this, but I think anybody on the show is replaceable,” Harmon told James Corden in 2015. “The truth is this show births characters leaving, it always has…It’s not my choice [that] I’m number one but I think anybody is replaceable, I believe that.”
He knows when it’s time to leave
During season 16 of NCIS, Harmon gave an in-depth interview to People magazine where he detailed exactly when it would be time for him to leave. He said that if there’s ever a time where the writers are walking into the room and going “I don’t know what to do,” that’s when they should call it a day.
“I’ve been around long enough to know what this is. 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 explained.
Have the ‘NCIS’ writers done it all?
According to Newsweek, Harmon also addressed the end of NCIS back in 2017. At that time, he said that the writers were all very up and excited. The 69-year-old said that he could “see it on their faces.”
“Now, if I ever witness them walking into the writers’ room with their heads down, feeling they’ve done it all, that would be the time to say, ‘I think I’m done here.’ But there is still a real feeling of creativity and a sense of reinvention on our set,” Harmon said.
Mark Harmon’s wife says fans shouldn’t worry about Gibbs’ current storyline
As the rumors have heated up about Harmon’s possible exit, his character’s storyline has turned somewhat dark. The April 6 episode also saw the debut of Harmon’s wife Pam Dawber as journalist Marcie Warren. Some fans have considered the dark storyline and Dawber’s appearance as signs Harmon is ready to say goodbye.
The actor hasn’t said anything in recent weeks about the rumors he’s ready to leave. But Dawber says her appearance on NCIS for the first time isn’t her husband’s final love letter to fans.
“That has nothing to do with anything. This is just a good storyline,” Dawber told Entertainment Weekly. “I’m not going to go tip the hat on anything, but they don’t think like that over there. A good storyline is a good storyline, and honest to God, we don’t even know how it’s going to end.”
Will ‘NCIS’ end when Mark Harmon leaves?
Harmon’s future on NCIS is still up in the air. His contract ends at the conclusion of season 18, but it’s not clear if he will continue. It’s also not a sure thing that NCIS would continue without him.
When The Hollywood Reporter first revealed that Harmon was ready to go, their insider claimed that CBS wanted to end NCIS if he walked away. But when the actor found out, he reportedly started talking to the network about appearing in a handful of episodes if they would renew the series for season 19.
Fans will have to wait and see how this all plays out.
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