Mark Harmon reflects on NCIS exit for first time, giving fans update on Gibbs

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Mark Harmon has addressed his NCIS exit, offering fans a promising update on his former character.

The 70-year-old actor led the CBS crime drama for 18 years as fan favourite special agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs, before his departure in season 19’s episode “Great Wide Open”.

Now, for the first time, Harmon has reflected on his farewell that left fans devastated.

“Plot-wise, this character has taken the path that he did. I thought it was honest,” he said in a season 19 special featurette DVD reported on by ET.

Gibbs’ final episode saw him break the news to his colleague, special agent Timothy McGee (Sean Murray), while out fishing in Alaska. After telling McGee he wouldn’t be returning to work, he acknowledged he was “not sure” how long he’d be gone.

However, Harmon stipulated: “I’m not retired. The character is living in Alaska as far as I know.”

Following Harmon’s final series appearance, executive producer and showrunner Steven D Binder released a statement paying tribute to the actor’s 18 years on the show: “As an executive producer and dear friend, Mark continues to be an integral part of the fabric of the show.

Mark Harmon on ‘NCIS’ (CBS)
Mark Harmon on ‘NCIS’ (CBS)

“Our north star has always been staying true to our characters, and that truth has always guided the stories we tell and where those characters go. So regarding the future of Gibbs, as long-time fans of the show may have noticed over the years…never count Leroy Jethro Gibbs out.”

The series has continued beyond Harmon’s exit, with its forthcoming 22nd season scheduled to premiere on 19 September on CBS.