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Mark Harmon Exits 'NCIS' After 18 Seasons, Showrunner Steve Binder Hints 'Never Count Leroy Jethro Gibbs Out'

Oct. 12 2021, Published 8:11 a.m. ET

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After 18 years on NCIS, Mark Harmon finally said goodbye to Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs.

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On the Monday, October 11, episode titled "Great Wide Open" Gibbs and Special Agent Timothy McGee (Sean Murray) worked on a case regarding a contract killer in Alaska. Later in the episode, Gibbs told his partner and NCIS Director Vance (Rocky Carroll) that he would be staying in Alaska.

"I'm not going back, Tim," Gibbs announced while they were fishing. "I’m not going back home."

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mark harmon exits ncis  seasons leroy jethro gibbs out
Source: CBS
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Gibbs told McGee that he didn't know what he was looking for in Alaska but his gut told him he would know when he finds it.

However, it seems that this might not be the last fans see of Gibbs.

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NCIS executive producer and showrunner Steve Binder said Harmon was "an integral part of the fabric of the show," in a statement. "Our north star has always been staying true to our characters, and that truth has always guided the stories we tell and where those characters go. So regarding the future of Gibbs, as long-time fans of the show may have noticed over the years…never count Leroy Jethro Gibbs out."

Last month, CBS Entertainment President Kelly Kahl told Deadline that Harmon has "always been part of the show, Mark’s always going to be part of the show." "In terms of his on-air appearances, we’re just going to have to see how it plays out going forward," she added.

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The 70-year-old was considering leaving NCIS before season 19 but reportedly returned in a limited capacity after learning that the show would potentially be canceled without him, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

mark harmon exits ncis  seasons leroy jethro gibbs out
Source: CBS
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Harmon, who is also an executive producer on the show, had a lot on his plate. An OK! insider previously spilled that the "responsibilities of the show seem to wear heavier on Mark by the year." "Even on a break, you can't get him to crack a smile or tell a joke. He'd rather go lie down in his trailer," the insider explained.

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Harmon has not released a statement about his departure. According to The Sun, he is remaining as executive producer.

Fans didn't hold back on social media when it came to sharing their thoughts on Harmon's exit.

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"NO! I don’t want Gibbs to leave. NCIS isn’t ncis without him," one fan lamented on Twitter.

"Go ahead, #NCIS. I got my tissues today. 'The pain never leaves your heart,'" another fan shared.

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mark harmon exits ncis  seasons leroy jethro gibbs out
Source: CBS
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"Wasn’t prepared for that ending whatsoever.. it can’t be #NCIS," a third fan wrote.

"#NCIS got me feeling all types of things," another fan tweeted.

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