Spoiler Alert: This article contains spoilers for Season 19, Episode 4 of 'NCIS.'
The 18th season of NCIS left fans shocked over Gibbs' decisions. The special agent was suspended after he crossed a serious line (with no remorse). The storyline was a major part of the season, with his team having to operate without him. Though, of course, he was still pulled into plenty of drama.
Over the years, almost all of the original NCIS cast members have left the CBS show. But Mark Harmon has remained, playing Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs for more than 400 episodes now. But does this suspension spell the end for the agent? Is Gibbs leaving?
Gibbs is leaving 'NCIS' after 19 seasons.
Ahead of Season 19, Mark Harmon renegotiated his contract to allow him to stay on board, but what was unknown was how long he would still be around. And although we did get a warning that Mark wouldn't be in all of Season 19, what we weren't prepared for was for Gibbs to walk away in just the fourth episode.
In Episode 4, we see Gibbs and McGee (Sean Murray) head to Alaska to try to solve the mystery of who had hired the contract killer and why. When the two succeed, Gibbs is offered the chance to get his badge back, but he turns it down. He intends to stay in Alaska, content to spending more days fishing and less days putting his life on the line.
Considering that we've just seen Gibbs nearly die at the end of the last season, perhaps this is a fitting way for the beloved character to say his farewells — finding peace in life, rather than in death. And hopefully having Gibbs still alive somewhere in Alaska will mean that he doesn't have to say a permanent goodbye to his team.
But for the time being, Mark Harmon is ending his run as a series regular on NCIS. Gibbs' departure was confirmed by the series's showrunner.
Steve Binder said in a statement, “As an executive producer and dear friend, Mark continues to be an integral part of the fabric of the show. 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.”
So, what's next for Gibbs? Hopefully, a long and happy retirement in Alaska. And perhaps a few guest appearances? With Mark Harmon staying on as executive producer, he won't be too far away from the NCIS world anyhow.
NCIS airs Mondays at 9 p.m. EST on CBS.