Because of the unexpected departure of Mark Harmon’s Leroy Jethro Gibbs, NCIS season 19 has been unlike any other. He had been a series regular since before the show’s 2003 debut (he appeared in the JAG backdoor pilot), and for many fans, Gibbs was NCIS. However, in the fourth episode of the season, he remained in Alaska and handed over his Washington DC team to Gary Cole’s Agent Alden Parker.
Since Harmon’s departure, NCIS has brought back a slew of fan favorites. Simultaneously, Gibbs’ influence has been felt in the weekly storylines. However, Harmon has not been seen by fans since his departure.
‘NCIS’ reintroduced Tobias Fornell.
Fans were treated to the return of perennial recurring character Tobias Fornell during the March 28 crossover episode with NCIS: Hawai’i (Joe Spano).
Fornell has appeared in every season (except the C0V1D-plagued season 17) since his appearance in the NCIS pilot because fans can’t get enough of his cantankerous friendship with Gibbs. They even had the same wife! However, this was the first time fans had seen the former FBI Special Agent post-Gibbs.
Before his appearance in “Starting Over,” fans last saw Fornell at the start of season 19 — just before Harmon’s departure. This time, however, he appeared in an unexpected way — as a grief sponsor for a man the NCIS team suspected of murd3r.
Except for Mark Harmon, they keep bringing back fan favorites.
NCIS fans saw Laura San Giacomo return as Dr. Grace Confalone in the same grief-focused episode that saw Fornell’s return.
The episode’s central case revolved around the apparent suicide of someone from Palmer’s (Brian Dietzen) and Knight’s (Jessica Law) grief group. Dr. Grace, the resident mental health expert at NCIS, was also a part of the plot, along with Fornell.
The return of these two characters in the same episode provided NCIS fans with a nice dose of nostalgia. They got even more with Gibbs’ unexpected impact on the crossover with NCIS: Hawai’i. However, so far, fans have only received mentions. Will Harmon ever be brought back?
The ‘NCIS’ crossover with ‘NCIS: Hawai’i’ featured Gibbs’ famous rules.
Even when he is not present, Gibbs’ influence is felt at NCIS in a variety of ways. Gibbs was present in spirit when Torres (Wilmer Valderrama) and Knight flew to Hawaii for an old case, thanks to his famous rules.
The team specifically mentioned two rules after a witness was k1ll3d and the agents came under fire. In the aftermath, Torres and Jane Tennant (Vanessa Lachey) mention Rule 45: “Left a mess, I gotta clean up.” Later, they mentioned Rule 40, which states that “if it appears that someone is out to get you, they are.”
In addition to his rules, Gibbs’ legacy lives on through his scholarship fund for the children of NCIS agents. However, his retirement is beginning to feel more and more permanent. Will Harmon make an appearance before the end of Season 19? Fans will have to wait and see what happens.
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