After performing nearly two decades on CBS’s “NCIS” crime drama series, Mark Harmon is leaving.
The bombshell was revealed during the “Great Wide Open” episode, which aired on Oct. 11. Character Leroy Jethro Gibbs investigates a case about a conglomerate CEO, who employs a contract killer to eliminate copper mine opponents.
Gibbs declines to accept Leon Vance’s (Rocky Carroll) police badge before revealing he is leaving the agency himself to settle down in Alaska.
“I am not going back,” Gibbs can be heard saying in a video shared on YouTube.
Harmon will actually continue working for the show in a backstage capacity. He continues to be executive producer.
“As an executive producer and dear friend, Mark continues to be an integral part of the fabric of the show,” NCIS executive producer Steve Binder said according to the Daily Mail.
“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,” he added. “Regarding the future of Gibbs, as long-time fans of the show may have noticed over the years … never count Leroy Jethro Gibbs out.”
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the 70 year-old actor already planned his retirement as Gibbs back in the 18th season. However, he postponed his decision after learning the CBS show might be canceled if he leaves.
After the show secured a 19th season, Harmon agreed to return for a few episodes.