Why Did Gibbs Leave NCIS? What Factors Led to His Departure?

Why did Gibbs leave NCIS? Leroy Jethro Gibbs has been a beloved character on the TV show “NCIS” for almost 20 years. But now, Mark Harmon’s time on the show has come to an end, and Gibbs’ story has wrapped up in Season 19.

Why Did Gibbs Leave NCIS?

In Episode 4 of Season 19, called “Great Wide Open,” Gibbs and McGee go on a journey to Alaska to catch a serial killer. Afterward, Gibbs is cleared of all charges and can go back to his job at NCIS, but he decides not to. 

Instead, during a heartfelt fishing trip with McGee, Gibbs tells his colleague that he’s not going back to work because he has found peace in Alaska. 

The show leaves Gibbs’ story open-ended, showing him living a peaceful life in Alaska, which is a well-deserved break after all the heartache he has experienced on “NCIS.”

The ending of Gibbs’ story on “NCIS” was satisfying for both the fans and the actor, Mark Harmon. Even though there are no plans for Harmon to return to the show, he said in an interview, “I’m not retired… The character is living in Alaska as far as I know.”

Gibbs doesn’t know what he’s looking for in his new life, but he’s confident that he’ll find it eventually. And “NCIS” is also leaving the door open for Gibbs to possibly return one day.

Mark Harmon is Okay with Gibbs’ NCIS Ending

Ending a story is always a challenge, especially when it’s been going on for 19 seasons. But “NCIS” managed to do it with style, bringing Gibbs’ story to a satisfying close. 

While it’s too early to talk about whether Gibbs will come back to duty, Mark Harmon isn’t worried. He’s happy with how his character’s journey ended.

During an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Harmon said, “What has always drawn me here is the character I play and to keep it fresh and to keep it challenging. Plot-wise, this character has taken the path that it did. I thought it was honest and OK with.” 

Harmon’s words suggest that he was ready to move on from “NCIS.” After playing the same character for 19 years, it’s understandable that he wanted a change. It’s hard to keep any character interesting for that long on the screen, no matter how good the writing is.

But as Harmon mentioned, Gibbs is still out there living his life in Alaska, and “NCIS” didn’t completely shut the door on his possible return. Showrunner Steven D. Binder hinted that fans should never count out Leroy Jethro Gibbs. 

While it’s unlikely that Harmon will be back on the show anytime soon since it’s only one season since his departure, the way Gibbs’ story was left open suggests that his return is inevitable.

Final Thoughts

Saying goodbye to a beloved character is never easy. Mark Harmon’s departure from “NCIS” marks the end of an era for fans. However, Gibbs’ story was given a fitting conclusion, leaving room for hope and future possibilities. 

As we bid farewell to Leroy Jethro Gibbs, we can reflect on the impact he had on our screens for nearly two decades. May his peaceful life in Alaska serve as a reminder of the enduring legacy of a memorable character.