Season 20 of NCIS is currently in production, marking the show’s first without Mark Harmon (Leroy Jethro Gibbs). Harmon left the show in Season 19, Episode 4 “Great Wide Open” after requesting to be written out. But does that mean he’s retired and gone for good? There’s always the possibility that Gibbs will return, according to showrunner Steven D. Binder.
Mark Harmon’s departure from ‘NCIS’ began in season 18.
Despite the fact that Gibbs was written out of NCIS four episodes into season 19, the plan for his departure was put in place in season 18. When Harmon requested to be written out, the writers began putting the storylines in motion.
However, rather than k1lling off the character or forcing him to retire to work on his boat in his basement, Gibbs ended his run on NCIS in Alaska when his final case was solved. Because he had found “peace,” he sent Agent McGee (Sean Murray) back to Washington DC without him.
“What has always drawn me here is the character I play and keeping it fresh and challenging,” Harmon says in the NCIS Season 19 DVD special feature “Being Gibbs.”
“From a plot standpoint, this character chose the path that it did. ‘I’m not retired,’ I thought, was honest and acceptable. As far as I know, the character resides in Alaska.”
Gibbs can return, according to showrunner Steven D. Binder.
Even though he is no longer the face of NCIS on television, Harmon remains involved with the show as an executive producer. He has also stated that he has not retired from acting. Harmon, on the other hand, wanted to try something new after playing Gibbs for nearly two decades.
Binder claims that the door is always open for Harmon to return. This is why the writers placed the character “nowhere” and did not provide any details.
“It just didn’t feel right seeing him retired and going grocery shopping, working in his basement, and playing checkers in the park… “It just didn’t seem right to put him anywhere, so we put him nowhere,” Binder explained.
“He went off into the wild, into the wilderness.” And that opened the door to any possibility. It didn’t leave the audience with anything specific. It gave the audience a chance to imagine what happened to Gibbs. He has the option of returning. He is secure. He’s content.”
Rule 91 was the reason for Gibbs’ departure from ‘NCIS.’
Harmon left Gibbs’ exit to the writers, who decided to base his final episode on Gibbs’ Rule 91: Never look back when you decide to walk away. Executive producers David J. North and Brendan Fehily co-wrote the script, which they say was difficult to write.
“I cried while writing it and then again while filming it.” To see Sean in that river at the end and become overcome with emotion… “When you turned the camera on a lot of the crew, you could see tears in their eyes,” Fehily explained.
“It’s one thing to write it; it’s quite another to see it come to fruition in front of your eyes, everything we wrote.” I was as pleased as I had been with any episode I had written or been a part of.”
The NCIS: The Nineteenth Season DVD, which includes all 21 episodes as well as 45 minutes of exclusive special features and behind-the-scenes footage, is now available. NCIS Season 20 premieres on CBS on Monday, September 19th.
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