Season 21 of CBS’s long-running NCIS will be here before we know it, and we can’t help but wonder if Mark Harmon will make a brief return to the series. Though it’s been well established that Harmon’s Leroy Jethro Gibbs has not made an appearance on the crime procedural since season 19, the recent passing of David McCallum makes fans wonder if Gibbs will make an appearance to pay tribute to Ducky, the chief medical examiner for the past 20 seasons.
But according to Yahoo!, Harmon has stated that if there are plans for Gibbs to return to the show, he has not yet been made aware of them.
In a November 16 interview with Entertainment Tonight, Mark Harmon was asked if there were plans for him to reprise his NCIS role, and in short, he doesn’t know. Though season 21 will kick off with a February 12 2024 premiere, production has yet to commence. When you consider the fact that Harmon still functions as an executive producer on the series, he could very well be holding back some information, so there’s an element of surprise, but we’re just speculating at the moment.
Mark Harmon suggested that Gibbs retired to Alaska.
Mark Harmon suggested that Gibbs retired to Alaska, and for all he knows the former NCIS Special Agent in Charge is currently off somewhere fishing. If you’re up on your NCIS lore, then you know all too well that one of Gibbs’ favorite pastimes involved drinking bourbon while building massive boats in his basement.
For 19 seasons, audiences and NCIS characters alike never knew how he moved the boats from his basement before starting to build a new one.
But when Mark Harmon exited NCIS, the mystery was finally solved. In the episode entitled “Great Wide Open,” it was revealed that Gibbs would remove bricks from the wall to remove the completed boat before starting another project.
It’s worth noting, however, that Mark Harmon isn’t the only person being tight-lipped about the possibility of Gibbs returning on NCIS, or even his current whereabouts for that matter.
Series showrunner Steven D. Binder noted that he prefers to keep Gibbs’ post-NCIS life shrouded in mystery rather than saying anything definitive about his current life aside from some passing pieces of dialogue. Binder’s primary reason for being so elusive is that leaving the matter open-ended allows long-time fans to leave Gibb’s current off-screen situation to their imaginations.
When you decide to walk away, never look back.
If Mark Harmon were to return to NCIS, even briefly for one episode, fans would most certainly appreciate his presence. It would make sense for Gibbs to show up at headquarters to give David McCallum‘s Ducky a proper sendoff when you consider their decades-long relationship, both on-screen and off-screen.
One important consideration that avid fans of the series need to consider is that Gibbs was a stickler to the rules and had 91 rules of his own that he never stopped practicing. If Mark Harmon wants to stay true to NCIS lore and Gibbs’ characterization, then he needs to consider rule number 91, which proclaims, “when you decide to walk away, never look back.”