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Is Mark Harmon Returning to ‘NCIS’? Inside the Major Clue That Has Fans Convinced Gibbs is Coming Back!

Mark Harmon’s Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs seemingly ended his time on ‘NCIS’ in the fourth episode of season 19. His exit came after starring on the CBS procedural for more than 400 episodes. But now some fans have spotted one clue that has them convinced that Gibbs is coming back.


  • Mark Harmon made his exit from NCIS after starring in more than 400 episodes.
  • His exit came as CBS brought in veteran actor Gary Cole who is no stranger to “dropping into shows.”
  • Some NCIS fans think they have spotted a clue that means Gibbs is not gone for good.
Mark Harmon as NCIS Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs in a hat and jacket in his final episode ‘Great Wide Open’
Mark Harmon | Cliff Lipson/CBS via Getty Images

Mark Harmon ended his run as Leroy Jethro Gibbs in the fourth episode of NCIS season 19. Or did he? It may appear that the 70-year-old’s time on the popular CBS procedural is over. But according to some fans, there’s one major clue that has them convinced Gibbs is coming back.

Mark Harmon’s final episode was titled ‘Great Wide Open’

After 18+ seasons and more than 400 episodes, Gibbs finally found some peace and said goodbye to his team. Season 19, Episode 4 — titled “Great Wide Open” — was Harmon’s last as the star of television’s most-watched drama.

The episode ended with Gibbs and McGee (Sean Murray) fly fishing, with the special agent telling his probie that he would be staying in Alaska instead of returning to NCIS in Washington DC.

“I could not have hoped for anyone better to watch my back for the past 18 years than you, Tim,” Gibbs told McGee.

The last shot fans saw of Gibbs was him in his waders, casting his line with a smile on his face.

The ‘NCIS’ team still feels Gibbs’ absence

In the episodes since Gibbs’ exit, there have been some big changes at NCIS. Gary Cole’s Agent Alden Parker has taken over the team. But Gibbs still looms large and his absence is felt by everyone.

Gibbs’ departure has had a significant impact on forensic scientist Kasie Hines (Diona Reasonover). It was recently revealed that Kasie had been attending Krav Maga classes for weeks, and she’s also in the market for a gun.

Kasie explained to Palmer (Brian Dietzen) that after contract killer Paul Lemere (Jason Wiles) held her hostage (in the episode “Nearly Departed”) and after being held hostage in season 17, these situations had her wondering WWGS — what would Gibbs say?

“Both times I was saved by Gibbs, meaning it’s on me when strike three happens,” she explains.

‘NCIS’ fans have spotted a clue that has them convinced Mark Harmon is coming back

It’s been over a month since Harmon’s exit in episode four. But fans have noticed that he is still in the NCIS opening credits, and many believe this is a hint that Gibbs has not made his final appearance on the show.

“Gibbs is still in the opening credits…which means I don’t believe he has left the series completely… he’ll come back at some point.” one fan speculated.

Another added, “Hm… I don’t think Gibbs is completely out of NCIS UNTIL they change the intro.” A third fan theorized that “Mark Harmon will come back for an ep sometime this season.”

“He’s still in the opening credits and does the ‘Stay tuned…’. Also, he’s left and come back multiple times #NCIS,” the fan wrote.

The ‘NCIS’ showrunner hinted that Gibbs could return

On the evening that Harmon’s final episode aired, showrunner Steve Binder released a statement that suggested Gibbs would be back.

“As an executive producer and dear friend, Mark continues to be an integral part of the fabric of the show. 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,” Binder said.

“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.”

Gary Cole’s Agent Parker isn’t trying to be Mark Harmon’s Gibbs

Cole is a veteran actor who is no stranger to “dropping into shows.” However, coming in as the new lead on a series that’s been on the air for nearly two decades is definitely something new. Cole insists, though, that he’s “not trying to be Gibbs.”


Is Mark Harmon’s Exit the Beginning of the End for ‘NCIS’?

“Parker isn’t overly chatty, but he is more verbal. He’s not as old school; he tries to get his hands on new tech gadgets and impress everybody,” Cole told TV Line. “He’s trying to fit in with the rest of the team. Although he may be reluctant to voice it, he admires that Gibbs breaks rules. Parker bends them. We’ll see if it gets to the point of breaking.”

NCIS airs Monday nights on CBS.