‘NCIS’: Why Mark Harmon Is Reportedly ‘Ready to Leave’ After Season 18

CBS is making some big moves with their popular NCIS franchise. One spinoff is coming to an end, and another is reportedly in the works. Mark Harmon’s contract also expires soon, and there’s a new report that claims he is “ready to leave” after season 18.

Is the network prepared to say goodbye to its highest-rated show and one of its biggest stars?

Mark Harmon, Sean Murray and the rest of the NCIS team investigates a man overboard fatality from a Navy destroyer at sea. Also, Torres is frustrated with Vance's assignment to mentor three high school students, on NCIS, Tuesday, Feb. 26
Mark Harmon and Sean Murray on the set of ‘NCIS’ | Cliff Lipson/CBS via Getty Images

‘NCIS’ is ending one spinoff after 7 seasons

Back in 2014, NCIS: New Orleans became the second spin-off in the NCIS franchise via a backdoor pilot in the original series. For seven seasons, the series has followed Agent Dwayne Pride (Scott Bakula) and his NOLA team. It’s been a big hit for CBS, but the network just confirmed this season will be its last.

The network recently announced that the final episode of NCIS: New Orleans will air on Sunday, May 16. In response to the news, Bakula said he was sad that the series was coming to an end.

“Sad to end our love affair with this phenomenal city but so grateful for all the friends we made along the way,” Bakula said. “I will miss the music. Big thank you to CBS for seven years.”

CBS didn’t give an official reason why they gave NCIS: New Orleans the ax. According to Deadline, it gets lower ratings than NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles, which could be a contributing factor.

There’s also the fact that executive producer Jan Nash and showrunner Christopher Silber will be moving to another NCIS show that’s in the works.

CBS is reportedly close to greenlighting ‘NCIS: Hawaii’

As NCIS: New Orleans says goodbye, CBS reportedly has a third spinoff coming. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Nash and Silber will now be the EP and showrunner, respectively, of NCIS: Hawaii.

CBS has yet to confirm the new spinoff, but insiders say that the network is close to a direct to series order. They are currently meeting with potential directors for the pilot, and they are reportedly hiring for the writers room. The new show is expected to be shot on location in Hawaii.

RELATED: ‘NCIS’ Season 18: All the Signs Mark Harmon’s Gibbs Will Finally Retire

In addition to the new spinoff, the outlet also claims that season 19 of NCIS is not a sure thing. Because Harmon’s contract is up after the current season, there’s a possibility this could be the end of the flagship series.

Insiders claim that when Harmon – the show’s star and executive producer – found out CBS would end NCIS if he left, he started having conversations about making cameos in a handful of episodes if they would renew the show for a 19th season.

Is Mark Harmon ready to leave ‘NCIS’?

As fans know, Harmon originated the character of Leroy Jethro Gibbs on JAG nearly 20 years ago before he was spun off into his own series – NCIS. Harmon is also an EP on the NOLA spinoff, but he isn’t involved with NCIS: Los Angeles.

With NOLA canceled and his contract on the flagship series coming to an end, this could be an indication that Harmon is “ready to leave.” This is what sources claim is going on behind the scenes.

As recently as 2019, Harmon made it clear that he was not ready to say goodbye to NCIS. But, the 69-year-old did tell People magazine what it would take for the series to come to an end.

“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,” Harmon said during season 16. “But we’re not there yet.”

Fans will have to wait and see if Harmon renews for another season. With NCIS being the number one show on the network, it’s hard to believe that they would be quick to end it. But, after 18 seasons and more than 400 episodes, it might finally be the right time to say goodbye.

NCIS airs Tuesday nights on CBS.