‘NCIS’ Will Likely Bring Back Mark Harmon — But Not in Season 20

CBS fans keeping up with NCIS Season 20 aren’t expecting to see much of Mark Harmon this season. The actor who played Leroy Jethro Gibbs exited the series after 19 seasons, and many fans are hopeful they’ll possibly get to see him return. Unfortunately, it looks like the NCIS production crew switched around a few details to make it known that Harmon might be gone for good in the current season. But we believe the actor will return after season 20. Here’s why.

Where is Mark Harmon now? He left ‘NCIS’ during season 19

Mark Harmon in 'NCIS' riding a motorcycle
Mark Harmon in ‘NCIS’ | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images

NCIS Season 20 isn’t the same without Mark Harmon playing Leroy Jethro Gibbs. Gibbs told McGee in season 19 that he would not return to his job, and it’s now assumed that he stayed in Alaska.

“This sense of peace, I have not had this since Shannon and Kelly died and I’m not ready to let it go,” Gibbs shared with Tim McGee before offering him to lead the office. “I could not have hoped for anyone better to watch my back for the past 18 years than you,” Gibbs shared with his colleague.

Harmon played the character starting in 2003, and he opened up after his exit.

“What has always drawn me here is the character I play and to keep it fresh and to keep it challenging,” the actor shared in a clip, according to Entertainment Tonight. “Plot-wise, this character has taken the path that it did. I thought it was honest and OK with.”

As for what Harmon does now, it seems he still works with the NCIS crew as an executive producer. Fans should feel happy to hear he hasn’t strayed too far.

Is Mark Harmon coming back to ‘NCIS’? We think it’s possible by episode 500

Will fans see Mark Harmon return to NCIS Season 20? It doesn’t seem likely. But the CBS Entertainment president made it known that the door remains open if Harmon chooses to walk through.

“Everyone is aware that the door is open if he ever wants to pop in for an episode or multiple episodes,” CBS Entertainment president Kelly Kahl told TVLine.

With that said, fans should look forward to episode 500 of the series. As of Sept. 26, 2022, CBS has aired 437 episodes of NCIS. With each season having about 23 episodes, we wouldn’t be surprised if the 500th episode, which likely will air during the show’s 22nd season, brings Harmon back. Additionally, the 20th season of the show appears to have some decline in viewership. If CBS teases Harmon’s potential return, fans will certainly watch.

We’ll have to wait several seasons to see what CBS has in store for the show’s 500th episode, but there’s no doubt they’ll pull off something incredible for the loyal viewers.

The opening credits for ‘NCIS’ Season 20 no longer feature the actor

While Mark Harmon left NCIS in season 19, he was still included in the show’s opening credits after his departure. Sadly, fans hoping to see another glimpse of Harmon in the opening credits for NCIS Season 20 won’t get to. Entertainment Tonight reports Harmon’s Leroy Jethro Gibbs no longer leads the opening credits. Instead, Sean Murray playing Tim McGee leads the opener. The NCIS Season 20 credits also feature Wilmer Valderrama, Katrina Law, Brian Dietzen, Diona Reasonover, David McCallum, Rocky Carroll, and Gary Cole, while Gibbs is nowhere to be found.

Given how Gibbs seemingly passed the torch to McGee in season 19, it’s fitting that McGee is now the character leading the credits. Fans can anticipate plenty more from the character moving forward.

NCIS Season 20 airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on CBS.

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