NCIS fans have fallen in love with Mark Harmon as the beloved Agent Gibbs over the past 17 seasons of the show. But who was almost cast as the character?
NCIS season 18 has been commissioned and will see Mark Harmon back once again as head of the cr1m1nal investigation team Leroy Gibbs. However, the show could have almost been very different had a casting decision gone another way for the main character.
Which Hollywood star was almost cast as Leroy Gibbs?
Over 17 seasons of NCIS, Agent Gibbs has been at the centre of the hit cr1m1nal procedural.
During that time he has been played by American actor Harmon who is otherwise known for roles in Freaky Friday, The West Wing and St Elsewhere.
Now he has played the character for more than 400 episodes, it would be difficult to imagine anyone else starring in the central role.
However, Harmon was not the only actor on the table to play the role when the show first began.
According to the X-Ray feature on Amazon’s Prime Video, Star Wars and Indiana Jones star Harrison Ford was also on the shortlist.
This reads: “Harrison Ford, who was experiencing a bit of a slump around the time of the series’s conception, was urged by colleagues to pursue the role of Gibbs.
“He did not, but Mark Harmon’s Gibbs does allude to this in the first episode, name-dropping Harrison Ford and his film Air Force One (1997).”
According to Collider, rumours had it Ford’s agents really wanted him to go up for the part as well.
Harrison Ford was also on the shortlist for Gibbs
Harmon has starred in 17 seasons
However, he decided not to and Harmon was eventually cast in the role.
Although, the show did make a number of tongue-in-cheek references to Ford in the first episode.
In Yankee White, there were a number of references to Ford’s film Air Force One where he played President James Marshall.
Viewers will remember how the plot of the episode echoed that of the film after the NCIS team came in to solve a number of mysterious d3aths.
Linked to the president, Gibbs, Ducky (David McCallum), Abby Scuito (Pauley Perrette), Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly) and special agent Kate Todd (Sasha Alexander) all try and work out how to save his life.
During the episode, there were even moments when Gibbs referenced Ford by name.
For example, at one point he was walking through the plane and said: “This is in the movie! Harrison is sitting right here.”
What’s more, Ford was not the only huge star who was interested in taking part in the CBS show.
According to Collider, Jennifer Aniston was also in the running to play special agent Kate Todd.
Of course, the role eventually went to Sasha Alexander with rumours part of the reason was Aniston was still filming the final season of Friends.
Alexander then went on to star in the first two seasons of the cr1me procedural before her character was k1ll3d off.
However, as aforementioned, Harmon will be coming back for the 18th season of the show later this year.
The latest outing is set to begin filming towards the end of the summer and will see Gibbs and the team back for more cr1me-solving.
Production was cut short on the 17th season following the outbreak of c0r0nav1rus C0V1D 19 but fans are hopeful the 18th outing will still air in its usual September slot on CBS.
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