Not so fast! OK! has learned that showbiz vet Mark Harmon, who was said to be seriously considering retirement after 17 seasons of playing special agent Leroy Gibbs on NCIS, is feeling recharged and ready for more.
Before the pandemic delayed filming of season 18, "Mark figured it would be his last and that he and wife Pam Dawber would ride off into the sunset and retire on their ranch in Montana," says an insider.
But once Harmon, 69, finally returned to set in September, "he was itching to be back in action," continues the insider, noting that the hiatus, even under such horrible circumstances, gave the star a chance to catch his breath and figure out what he really wants.
"Mark says he’s been having a better time than ever shooting the show," adds the insider. "Now he can logically envision leading NCIS into its 20th season."
NCIS hit another major milestone this week. The long-running show aired its 400th episode, titled "Everything Starts Somewhere," and Harmon felt the audience would totally dig the flashback of Gibbs meeting Ducky.
"I know when showrunner Steve Binder wrote it, it was something he had in mind to, in some ways, reward the audience a little bit — people who have been tracking this show for as long as they had and highlighting those two characters," Harmon — whose son, 32-year-old Sean, plays the younger version of Gibbs — told Entertainment Tonight.
"So much of what I do here is based on getting a script and reading it and then trying to attack it as it is as a script. The fact that we had a lot of months to think about the 400th episode with how it ended last year for us here, four shows short, think everybody was pleased to come back and try to lock into what this show was and is, and what we are trying to do."
But it's not always work for the TV icon. As OK! previously reported, Harmon enjoys a low-key lifestyle at home with his wife of 33 years. “It’s not even a choice,” the NCIS actor has said of remaining firmly under the radar with Dawber. “It’s who we are. We stay home. A lot. And I’m not a Twitter guy or a Facebook guy.”