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Why Did Mark Harmon Leave ‘NCIS’? Here’s Why We Said Goodbye to Jethro Gibbs

Why Did Mark Harmon Leave ‘NCIS’? Here’s Why We Said Goodbye to Jethro Gibbs

Mark Harmon played an integral role as Leroy Jethro Gibbs on NCIS, then Harmon decided to step away from his TV character. Gibbs was a leader of the NCIS team, making sure each person knew their role. Harmon also worked off-camera as an executive producer of the show. When he called it quits, fans wanted Harmon to stay on a little longer.

Now, a few years after leaving, Mark Harmon was facing the same question asked by fans all the time: Why did you leave with NCIS on a good run? In 2023, Harmon was a guest on The Kelly Clarkson Show and he offered up an answer.

“I think for the longest time, I was just tired,” Harmon told Clarkson. “Part of taking the job [involved] being home, with a young family, not traveling so much doing movies. The first day, we worked 22 hours. So I thought, ‘That’s not exactly what I thought this was going to be.’ But we had a lot of days like that in the first four years.”

‘NCIS’ Fans Were Hoping For A Return

For fans hoping that Mark Harmon would make a cameo appearance on a recent episode, it didn’t happen. Sure, Gibbs showed up in a flashback scene but no Harmon in the episode itself. Michael Weatherly, though, did stop by as Tony DiNozzo and he had a nice scene with Dr. Jimmy Palmer, played by Brian Dietzen. By the way, Dietzen co-wrote the send-off episode for Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard, played by the late David McCallum.

So, what’s the deal with Mark Harmon? Is he coming back at all? No one really knows. Although, there is still time this season to insert Harmon’s character in an episode should they want to do it.

Sure, NCIS fans can get their Gibbs fix by catching reruns of the show on different networks. Harmon has had a presence on television for many years, going back to St. Elsewhere, The West Wing, and Reasonable Doubts. He’s even been in a few movies, too. But that would take him away from his family and friends, something Harmon wanted to do.

When Harmon left, NCIS brought on the very capable Gary Cole to fill that spot. Fans have gotten used to his style of leadership, keeping the NCIS team on point during an assignment. Yet there is something so alluring to having those longtime cast members come on back.

Besides Gibbs, Who Else Could Return?

Fans also seem to seek out Pauley Perrette for a return. She played the very popular NCIS Forensic Specialist Abby Sciuto. Well, we wouldn’t hold out hope for her to return at all. Things didn’t end smoothly with her time on NCIS. There was a bit of conflict between her and Harmon on the show’s set. Perrette was on the show for 15 seasons. Nowadays, she’s pretty much focused on animal rights issues. In addition, she has said that she was retired as an actress.

Maybe NCIS could find a place for Cote de Pablo, who played NCIS Special Agent Ziva David. De Pablo is one of the show’s most popular actresses during the show’s run. Fans would love to see her and DiNozzo make a team and come on back.

Right now, Cole, Dietzen, Sean Murray, Katrina Law, Rocky Carroll, Wilmer Valderrama, and Diona Reasonover make up the core characters on NCIS. But there’s always room for another person or two in this lineup. So, fans can hold out hope that Mark Harmon returns at some point.