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Why was Mark Harmon not in the Ducky tribute episode as Gibbs? Here are your answers

Mark Harmon NCIS Image
Leroy Jethro Gibbs was played by Mark Harmon on the NCIS cast. Pic credit: CBS

NCIS fans were disappointed that Mark Harmon didn’t return for the Ducky tribute episode.

Many had hoped that Leroy Jethro Gibbs would return to say goodbye to his long-time friend, Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard.

Gibbs was referenced several times during the night, and footage from past episodes was also used. But no new footage of Gibbs debuted that night.

Actor David McCallum passed away during the NCIS hiatus, ending his run of being on the show for 20 seasons.

The writers did a good job honoring David and Ducky, with Brian Dietzen (he plays Dr. Jimmy Palmer) helping create the episode.

Past characters were referenced frequently during the tribute, but the funeral wasn’t in the episode (only the lead-up). Maybe additional people (like Gibbs) were at the event but didn’t get shown on television?

Why was Gibbs not a bigger part of the Ducky tribute episode

“In a perfect world, what we first imagined was what the Marvel Cinematic Universe did when Tony Stark died…. Our original thought was, ‘Can we get everybody?'” NCIS co-showrunner Steven D. Binder told TVLine.

“We gave a lot of thought to who Ducky is connected to most, which on one level would be Gibbs,” Binder stated before adding, “But it was Jimmy who was there, so it was [about] who Jimmy would connect with, and also bring some levity… and that was Michael Weatherly.”

Ducky and Jimmy shared the most scenes, and having Brian write the episode gave it more authenticity.

Is a Gibbs NCIS return in the cards?

“Of course the door is always open,” Binder stated.

“When we bring him back, we’re not going to bring him back for two minutes,” Binder elaborated.

It makes sense to have a Gibbs NCIS return if he will have a storyline that takes up (at least) the episode. That would do his character more justice than simply a few moments on screen.

Maybe the writers will devise a plan for Gibbs to return during NCIS Season 22 as the team deals with a case that ties to Gibbs’ past. Stay tuned!

More NCIS news

NCIS set photos featuring Michael Weatherly were shared. It provides a better look at Michael returning to play Anthony DiNozzo.

A new NCIS show debuts this fall on CBS. It opens the door for more NCIS stories and also some new characters.

Previous episodes of NCIS are available for streaming on Paramount+. That includes the Ducky tribe episode (NCIS Season 21, Episode 2).

NCIS airs Monday at 9/8c on CBS.

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Margie Herston
Margie Herston
1 month ago

No excuse for Gibbs not to show up for a couple minutes even at the end of program. Very disappointing in the writers to decide no Gibbs.

Jane Chapman
Jane Chapman
1 month ago

I still think Mark Harmon (as Gibbs) should have been in the tribute show. The character, Gibbs, would not miss a funeral fur his old friend, Ducky. Even if he just showed up at the end like “Tony” and “Abbey” should have been contacted to come,too. It was a nice show and a wonderful tribute to David McCallum but it would have been more realistic if his old friends from NCIS had come to pay their respects.

marty conlin
marty conlin
1 month ago

they could have had Gibbs standing afar in the cemetery by himself as was done before .