What Mark Harmon Would Say If the Writers Wanted to Kill Gibbs in ‘NCIS’

Mark Harmon has been a mainstay in NCIS since the show was a Jag spin-off destined for a semi-successful run. Sixteen seasons later, several actors have come and gone — Michael Weatherly, Cote de Pablo, Pauley Perrette, etc. — while Harmon remains the procedural’s lynchpin. Though Mark Harmon will never take credit for the show’s unbound success, many say they tune in to watch Gibbs first, and everybody else second.

Mark Harmon in NCIS
Mark Harmon in ‘NCIS’ | Photo by Erik Voake/CBS via Getty Images

Can you imagine an NCIS without Mark Harmon? Recently, rumors have begun to surface concerning Cote de Pablo’s Ziva David and the character’s potential bid for the throne. Has the show brought Ziva David back merely to excite fans and boost ratings, or are the showrunners planning to end Leroy Jethro Gibbs’ journey?

Though an NCIS without Mark Harmon sounds unfathomable, Harmon sat down for an interview with CBS Sunday Morning, a few seasons back, to discuss the possibility. Though an executive producer on the series (as well as the leading man), his response to the possibility of Gibbs’ death may surprise you.

How Mark Harmon would respond to the following: ‘we think Gibbs needs to be killed’

While on CBS Sunday Morning, Mark Harmon discussed his journey to NCIS, the ups and downs associated with the business, and the decisions he has made as a husband and a father. He also got to talking about the possibility of Gibbs’ dying.

The interviewer asked, “What if the folks here came to you and said, ‘we think Gibbs needs to be killed.’” Mark Harmon stated, “Rock on.” The interviewer questioned, “Really?” Mark Harmon went on to explain himself:

It’s the thing. I’m a team guy. You know, I mean, it’s like I think anybody can leave. I think we all think that here. It’s not an actor’s choice. Our choice is to play the role, and that’s all I ever tried to do.

CBS Sunday Morning

Mark Harmon, though playing Gibbs for so many years, is successful in the role because he understands that nothing is permanent. Though he may never be killed off, the show will one day end. And his story as an NCIS hero will end with it. Harmon will always be Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs in our hearts; however, he won’t always be so on our screens.

Mark Harmon’s response shows how humble he truly is; it’s his job to act, and if the writers found it best to kill him off the show, he would trust that they were correct. Such faith shows just how confident Harmon is at this stage of his life. 

Will Cote de Pablo replace Mark Harmon in ‘NCIS’?  

As of now, the rumors going around concerning Cote de Pablo are just that — rumors. Many believe that she wouldn’t come back unless promises the lead, for she refused to return unless a “fantastic” narrative was penned for Ziva; however, there are other fantastic options. Not to mention, McGee would be the more likely choice given the show’s growth up to this point. 

Though Mark Harmon may be willing to depart NCIS, there’s no reason to believe a replacement is on the way until something in season seventeen gives us a tangible reason to believe so.