‘NCIS’: Is Agent Gibbs Leaving the Show? Why Mark Harmon Might Not Return

It seems impossible that Mark Harmon and NCIS could ever part ways. After all, the 67-year-old actor is the star of the show and his image is inexplicably tied with the series. Could NCIS possibly succeed without Leroy Jethro Gibbs?

Fans think it might be possible. Here’s how those rumors started.

Why would Mark Harmon leave?

Rumors started swirling that Harmon might make a graceful exit from NCIS when he signed on for a  new series called Prey, which is based on the popular John Sanford novel. The actor is just human, after all, and only has 24 hours in a day like the rest of us. That’s why fans questioned if Harmon was contemplating moving on to focus full-time on Prey rather than continuing with NCIS.

The rumors aren’t confirmed

While Mark Harmon hasn’t made any formal statements on whether he’ll remain with NCIS or not, several sources confirm that he probably won’t leave. The main reason? He has a gigantic salary and is actually the fifth highest paid actor working on television right now thanks to the success of the hit CBS show. It’s been revealed that Harmon earns at least $525,000 per episode.

There’s another compelling reason that Harmon will stay: He promised he would. Mark Harmon recently signed a two-year deal that lasts through Season 17. Breaking that contract could prove disastrous for his career and most likely wouldn’t be worth it.

‘NCIS’ is a ratings juggernaut

Leaving a show during its prime would be a strange move, even for an accomplished actor like Mark Harmon. The series boasts millions of viewers per week and has been broadcast worldwide. It’s popular across a large demographic and appeals to a wide range of audiences. That’s part of the reason it has remained so popular for so many seasons.

Does Mark Harmon enjoy portraying Agent Gibbs?

But it’s more than just a paycheck for Harmon (though that’s certainly important). After 16 years on the show, Harmon has come to think of his fellow castmates more like family than anything. He probably won’t leave not just because of contractual obligations – but also because he just doesn’t want to.

“You gotta pay attention to what it took to get it to this point. I don’t forget that. I’ve been in too many shows that haven’t done well,” he explained to ET Canada. “To have an appreciation for getting up in the morning and enjoying that drive, to know that you’re coming every day to work with friends … And oh yeah, by the way, it’s the number one show in the world. So, there’s a lot to love here.”

While there’s no way of knowing how Harmon plans to balance his time between new projects and his commitment to NCIS, one thing is clear – he’ll be fantastic no matter what he chooses to pursue.