NCIS Finally Bringing Back Its Most Beloved Character?

Mark Harmon will not be appearing in the landmark 450th episode of NCIS.

By Mark McKee | Updated

Mark harmon
Mark Harmon

There is only a handful of scripted TV series that have reached the 450-episode mark, and even fewer are procedural cop shows, and NCIS is the only one not named Law & Order. While NCIS is joining Law & Order and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit in the 450-episode club, fans are hoping to see a special guest for the celebration. Unfortunately for them, it is business as usual for the NCIS team, and according to Yahoo! News, fans will have to wait for a return of Mark Harmon’s Leroy Jethro Gibbs, who will not appear. 

Landmark episodes tend to be celebratory events that see a lot of flashbacks, highlights, and reunions where actors or characters from the past show up to delight fans. While fans are hoping that Mark Harmon is on the list of actors that will make a triumphant return, showrunner Steven D. Binder revealed to TV Guide that the 450th episode would be a typical episode, but he did give a little bit of hope for the future. He went on to say that he doesn’t see a situation where they don’t see NCIS Special Agent Gibbs make an appearance. 

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Binder went on to say that he wants to be careful about a return for the character, saying that he resides on some higher plain, and they don’t want to ruin that. When we last saw Mark Harmon in 2021, he had resigned from the NCIS for good following a suspension, and he was smiling on a river. Binder said he didn’t just want to show him in some apartment in Anchorage, just waiting for NCIS to need his help; instead, they want a perfect reason to blow his happiness out of the water. 

When it comes to cop series and the detectives that lead them, few of them have characters more beloved and more impactful than Mark Harmon’s NCIS Special Agent Gibbs. Donnie Wahlberg’s Danny Reagan from Blue Bloods, Mariska Hargitay‘s Olivia Benson from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and Michael Chiklis’ Vic Mackey from The Shield are some of the contenders. With the kind of clout that puts him in the same sentence as those mentioned, it is only natural that fans are looking for the moment they get to see him again. 

Mark Harmon made his first appearance as NCIS Special Agent Gibbs during the JAG Season 8 episode, “Ice Queen,” which served as a backdoor pilot to NCIS. He is a gruff agent who uses a glare as his biggest weapon that can get suspects or subordinates to start talking without any more enticement. Harmon spent 435 episodes on the series, from Season 1 all the way until Season 19, before walking away from the part. 

The 450th episode will see his successor, NCIS Supervisory Special Agent Alden Parker (Gary Cole), and his team of Nick Torres (Wilmer Valderrama) and Jessica Knight (Katrina Law) investigate the death of a rideshare driver. Even if fans are a little disappointed that they won’t be seeing Mark Harmon in the 450th episode of the series, the statements from the showrunner give us hope that Leroy Gibbs will be back soon.