Wilmer Valderrama Says ‘NCIS’ Isn’t Going Anywhere Anytime Soon

For weeks, it seemed like NCIS could be coming to an end at the end of season 18. Or, at least, saying goodbye to the lead character — Mark Harmon’s Leroy Jethro Gibbs. But, CBS recently put an end to all of that speculation by announcing they had renewed NCIS for season 19.

On top of that, the network also revealed that Harmon would be returning. Now, star Wilmer Valderrama (Nick Torres) says that NCIS isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

NCIS cast on set, Emily Wickersham, Mark Harmon, Wilmer Valderrama, and Cliff Chamberlain as Peter Buck
NCIS cast on the set | Emily Wickersham as NCIS, Bishop, Wilmer Valderrama as Torres, Mark Harmon as Gibbs, Cliff Chamberlain as Peter Buck | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images

Mark Harmon was reportedly ready to leave ‘NCIS’

Back in February, reports surfaced claiming that Harmon was “ready to leave” NCIS after 18 seasons and more than 400 episodes. Not long after CBS canceled NCIS: New Orleans — of which Harmon is an executive producer — insiders claimed the 69-year-old actor was done with the flagship series.

However, when Harmon found out that CBS would consider canceling NCIS if he didn’t return, negotiations reportedly began for the leading man to appear in a “handful” of episodes.

CBS waited to announce their renewal for season 19

The cast and crew of NCIS filmed the season 18 finale in early April. It appears they already knew they were returning for another season weeks before the announcement from CBS. This is because Valderrama told Entertainment Tonight that fans will finally be getting the season finale they deserve.

“Because we stopped our season 17 abruptly, we weren’t able to have a proper season finale,” Valderrama explained. “Now… we finally get to give the fans the season finale they’ve been wanting or needing or wanting to see. We were able to have a real season finale that leads us into a season premiere, and it’s a major one. It’s a major, major season finale.”

Did Mark Harmon save ‘NCIS’ from cancellation?

According to The Hollywood Reporter, it apparently took an ultimatum from CBS for NCIS to get their renewal for season 19. They were ready to cancel their highest-rated show if they didn’t have Harmon. In order to save the series, he agreed to return.

RELATED: ‘NCIS’: Wilmer Valderrama Promises Fans ‘Will Get Their Answers’ When It Comes to Bishop and Torres This Season

What’s still unknown is how many episodes Harmon will appear in. He could be back full-time. But it’s possible he will appear in only a “handful” of episodes, as first reported when the rumors of his exit first began to swirl.

Wilmer Valderrama says ‘NCIS’ isn’t going anywhere

Now that CBS has confirmed that both NCIS and Harmon are coming back for season 19, Valderrama says he’s excited about what’s to come.

“The show is not slowing down,” Valderrama promised. “If anything, it’s the same magic but different energy. It’s different dynamics that continue to take us to different places on the show. As long as they keep watching, we’re going to keep showing up.”

The That 70’s Show alum added that he is grateful that at such a historic time in the entertainment industry and the world, they are able to contribute to a “little bit of sanity.”

“If we can just stay on the air and we can continue, that is everything you want as an actor and as an entertainer. I’m glad and I’m happy,” Valderrama said.

Wilmer Valderrama gives fans a peek at the season 18 finale

Valderrama has been giving fans a behind-the-scenes look at the final episodes of season 18 on Instagram. He posted two cast photos from the set taken during filming of the season finale.

In the caption he wrote, “Speaking of starting lineups..we are on the homestretch for our season finale. (that’s all I’m allowed to say) 😬🤷🏽‍♂️ #NCIS.”

Valderrama also posted a video from the set where he thanked the production team for making sure season 18 was filmed in a safe environment.

At the end of the clip, the new dad advised fans to “grab your tissues” for the finale. He also noted that the last episode of season 18 was “fire.”

The season finale of NCIS will air Tuesday, May 25 on CBS.