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Is Mark Harmon leaving NCIS? CBS president addresses question

Gibbs On NCIS With Sloane
Mark Harmon has starred as Agent Gibbs for 18-straight seasons of NCIS. Pic credit: CBS

Mark Harmon leaving NCIS would definitely take the show in a direction that many viewers might not be interested in.

For 18 years of the hit CBS drama, Mark Harmon has starred as Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs. Not only has Harmon remained the star of the show, but his character continues to be the glue that holds everything together.

During a lot of NCIS Season 18, there were heavy hints and foreshadowing that Gibbs might be nearing the end of his tenure. Viewers weren’t pleased when there were episodes where he was not leading his team and even less excited when he was just shown tooling around his house.

It seems very clear that if Gibbs did end up retiring from NCIS and someone were to take over his team, that the ratings might take a hit. And this is something that CBS has to be keenly aware of as the show approaches its 19th season.

The good news is that CBS has ordered NCIS Season 19 and that the new episodes will begin airing in the fall. The bad news is that NCIS is leaving Tuesday nights and viewers are going to have to tune in on a new night for the first time in 19 years. Does this also indicate that CBS is worried?

Is Mark Harmon leaving NCIS? Kelly Kahl weighs in

CBS Entertainment president Kelly Kahl recently spoke with Deadline about the future of NCIS and how involved Mark Harmon will be with the show.

“We take it year by year with Mark, we’d love to have him as long as he’d like to be here,” Kahl told Deadline. “Even in this past season, he might have been light in a couple of [episodes], so we’re happy to work around his schedule.”

Deadline also reported that, “they haven’t worked out exactly how many episodes he will star in, but [Kahl] is happy with the way the show is running.”

There had been NCIS rumors about Harmon only appearing in a few Season 19 episodes in order to keep the show going. These answers from Kahl don’t refute any of that, and it definitely raises some red flags about Gibbs and whether or not he will continue leading his team. 

If we are asked to read between the lines here, it definitely sounds like there is a strong possibility that Harmon/Gibbs will be absent from some Season 19 episode. We just hope that it isn’t very many, even though we certainly see the heavy foreshadowing that Katrina Law presents as Agent Knight.

NCIS season finale could hold answers

The big NCIS Season 18 finale might hold some of the answers that fans are looking for when it comes to Agent Gibbs. The episode is called Rule 91 and Gibbs is just about done building his new boat. That all seems like something that will play into the main plot points as the writers close up the season.

Several sneak peek videos from the NCIS finale have been released and they give a good look at what will be covered in the final hour of the season.

As a reminder, make sure to tune in on Tuesday, May 25 beginning at 8/7c to see the final episode of Season 18. It has all the earmarks of an episode that viewers will not want to miss – especially with that Bishop-Torres kiss that was advertised.

NCIS season finale airs May 25 at 8/7c on CBS.

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