Two years after he ended his stint as Leroy Jethro Gibbs in NCIS, Mark Harmon clarifies the real reason he left the show amid calls for his return.
Years removed from playing Leroy Jethro Gibbs, Mark Harmon clarifies the real reason why he left NCIS. CBS’ longest-running police procedural survived multiple character exits throughout its two-decade stint on TV. However, it persisted amid these losses because Gibbs remained the unit’s formidable leader. That’s until Harmon left in NCIS season 19, and since then, he hasn’t returned. There were rumors about why he wanted to leave the show that he spearheaded for almost 20 years.
Now, two years after Harmon left NCIS as Gibbs, he reveals on The Kelly Clarkson Show the real reason for his decision. Read his full quote below:
“I think for the longest time, I was just tired. Part of taking the job [involved] being home, with a young family, not traveling so much doing movies. The first day, we worked 22 hours. So I thought, ‘That’s not exactly what I thought this was going to be.’ But we had a lot of days like that in the first four years.”
Can Harmon’s Gibbs Still Return To NCIS?
Harmon was already 70 years old when he retired from playing Gibbs. Considering how central his character was, the police procedural couldn’t get away with diminishing his screen time to give him more time away from the show, which was the same set-up for David McCallum’s Ducky. Just like his long-time Navy officer, however, NCIS gave Gibbs a happy way out as he chose to finally walk away from his long-time stint.
Considering his current fate, there’s nothing stopping NCIS from bringing back Gibbs. Harmon also appears to not have fully closed the door on stepping back into the shoes of his coffee-chugging character. While CBS decided to celebrate season 20 without bringing back any legacy players, it’s arguably imperative for Harmon’s Gibbs to return in NCIS season 21 because of Ducky’s recent passing — assuming that the show will mine inspiration from McCallum’s death in real life.
Currently, there is no concrete indication that CBS plans on bringing back Gibbs for NCIS season 21. Harmon claims that if they are, he doesn’t have any knowledge of it. In any case, considering the late production start for the police procedural this year, there’s still time for the writers to figure out a way to plan Gibbs’ re-appearance for Ducky’s possible tribute episode.