‘NCIS’: Is It Time to Say Goodbye to Gibbs?

NCIS seems to announce new changes every week. The biggest changes have taken place among the cast. There has been a lot of uncertainty concerning Mark Harmon and his character, Gibbs. Are the producers setting the stage for Gibbs’ exit? Is it time to let go and say goodbye?

Gibbs won’t be around as much

Mark Harmon sitting in front of a plate of food on 'NCIS.'
Mark Harmon as Gibbs on ‘NCIS’ | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images

We don’t want to see Gibbs go, but it might be time. Harmon reportedly won’t appear in as many episodes during season 19. It looks like this could be a way for the producers to phase out the character.

According to TV Line, we won’t see Gibbs interact with the team as much. The publication says a source told them Harmon will only be in enough episodes to equal “the low single digits.” Furthermore, another source says Harmon will merely be in “a few” episodes.

Rule 91 was introduced

Another clue Gibbs might be on his way out is the introduction of Gibbs Rule 91. After Marcie Warren (Pam Dawber) tells him a boat isn’t complete unless it has a name, he decides to write “Rule 91” on the side. When Bishop asks Gibbs what Rule 91 is, he says, “When you decide to walk away, don’t look back.” It’s possible Gibbs might be saying he’s leaving NCIS and never looking back.

Gibbs’ reckless behavior resulted in his suspension

Gibbs was suspended indefinitely. Director Leon Vance (Rocky Carroll) told him all he has to do is apologize, and he can go back to work. However, Gibbs refuses to apologize. Instead, he tells Vance he’s only sorry he didn’t kill the man he beat up. After that comment, Vance said he had no choice but to suspend Gibbs.

Gibbs’ recklessness shows he’s done with NCIS. He doesn’t seem to care about what he does and how his actions affect others.

‘NCIS’ is just a job to Gibbs

NCIS used to be Gibbs’ life, but as the years have passed, he feels differently. Now, it’s just a job. During NCIS Season 18 Episode 12 (titled “Sangre”), McGee stops by to say hello. He tells Gibbs he spoke to Vance, and there is a chance he might be able to come back. However, Gibbs doesn’t look thrilled. McGee seems confused and asks him if he’s happy about the news. Gibbs says he doesn’t mind being home, and “there’s more to life than a job.”

When will Mark Harmon leave ‘NCIS’?

Harmon has addressed his departure. He once said he would leave NCIS if the writers ever got to the point where they didn’t know what to write or if they didn’t seem motivated to create compelling material.

“I’ve always thought if there’s ever a time where the writers are walking into the room and going ‘I don’t know what to do,’ then I think we all have to look at each other and call it a day,” he told People magazine in 2019.

Has Harmon reached the point where the scripts don’t move him anymore? Could this be it for Gibbs? Perhaps season 19 will give us some answers.

Follow Sheiresa Ngo on Twitter.