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NCIS cast: Mark Harmon finally speaks about his exit from show

Mark Harmon CBS
Mark Harmon is still a fan favorite from the NCIS cast. Pic credit: CBS

NCIS star Mark Harmon left the show in the first half of Season 19, making a lot of fans sad that his character was departing.

For years, Harmon starred as Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs on the NCIS cast, helping lead the show as it became the most-watched drama on television.

Gibbs was the anchor and leader of the team of NCIS agents that fans came to love watching each Tuesday night, and it was difficult when a new face took over that job.

The writers and producers set it up so that Gibbs could walk off into the Alaskan sunset to enjoy fishing for the rest of his life, all while leaving the door wide open for the character to return at a later date.

And because that door was left open, there have been quite a few NCIS rumors about Gibbs returning to help solve a case or two along the way.

When the current NCIS cast started sharing set photos, it may have been disappointing to some NCIS fans that Mark Harmon didn’t show up in them. But he now has a few words to share.

Mark Harmon speaks about his NCIS exit

“What has always drawn me here is the character I play and to keep it fresh and to keep it challenging,” Harmon said on a special-feature that comes on the NCIS Season 19 DVD.

“Plot-wise, this character has taken the path that it did. I thought it was honest and OK with, ‘I’m not retired.’ The character is living in Alaska as far as I know,” Harmon teased about the fact that his character could return at any time.

Mark Harmon hopes NCIS continues to go on

“The longest time I ever spent anywhere at any one time was five years on Chicago Hope,” Mark Harmon said, according to Parade, as he was explaining his current feelings about NCIS.

“This show is still doing what it’s doing after 19 years and remains remarkable. I don’t know that it will ever happen again. I’m proud of this show and I’m proud of the people here,” Harmon went on to say.

“This group, this family, this team has been through a lot and being part of this show for as long as most of us have been here, I’m proud of that and the people who jumped onboard as well,” Harmon also added.

Producer talks about tears during Mark Harmon exit

“I cried writing it and then I cried shooting it,” co-executive producer Brendan Fehily said about the final episode that featured Mark Harmon.

“To see Sean [Murray] in that river at the end and really get emotional… If you turned the camera around on a lot of the crew, there were tears in their eyes. It’s one thing to write it, another to see it in front of your face coming to fruition, everything that we wrote. I was as pleased as I had been for any single episode I wrote or been a part of,” Fehily went on to add.

Will we ever see Mark Harmon on NCIS again?

We will continue to hope that Mark Harmon wants to play Gibbs again and that he will show up in the future to take part in a story arc that makes sense for his character and the show itself.

For now, it’s time to focus on the season premiere of NCIS Season 20, where a big cliffhanger from last spring has to be addressed by the cast and crew.

NCIS airs Mondays at 9/8c on CBS.