Amid growing rumors and fear that the NCIS cast could undergo a major shakeup after Season 18, one new star is speaking out. For months now, speculation has spread that series lead Mark Harmon, who has portrayed Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs since even before the show's inception, could be leaving the series after the currently airing season, and his wife, Pam Dawber, finally broke her silence to offer some clarity.
Dawber, who has been married to Harmon since 1987, made her NCIS debut Tuesday night, taking on the role of Marcie Warren, "a seasoned investigative journalist who uses her savvy wit and down-to-earth people skills to aid in her tireless pursuit of truth." Some fans feared that Dawber joining the series for a four-episode arc could act as a sort of special send-off for Harmon. Asked by Entertainment Weekly if her appearance "is a final love letter for fans," however, Dawber said, "that has nothing to do with anything."
According to Dawber, her NCIS debut in "Gut Punch," in which she and Harmon shared several scenes, "is just a good storyline." Dawber did not outright address whether or not Harmon could be exiting, stating that she is "not going to go tip the hat on anything, but they don't think like that over there." She added that "a good storyline is a good storyline," teasing, "and honest to God, we don't even know how it's going to end." She also said she is "not sure it's over" when asked, "So is this arc a one-time thing?"
Speculation that Harmon may be preparing to leave NCIS was first prompted in February after The Hollywood Reporter reported that the series “could be nearing its end.” Citing sources, the outlet noted that NCIS has not yet been renewed for Season 19, and Harmon's contract is up at the end of Season 18. THR noted at the time that Harmon was initially planning to exit the show, though he reconsidered after he learned that doing so would be the end of the flagship crime procedural. According to the sources, the actor entered talks to appear for a handful of episodes if the show returns for Season 19, though it is unclear where those talks led or if Harmon has signed a new contract. Adding emphasis to the rumors is the fact that his onscreen counterpart was suspended from the team after he took things a few steps too far during an investigation.
Harmon has starred on NCIS since its debut back in 2003, appearing in more than 400 episodes, though his character, Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs, was originated on JAG before becoming the NCIS lead. NCIS has remained a major ratings win for CBS, with the Season 18 premiere being crowned the most-watched scripted cable show of the night with upwards of 10.1 million viewers. New episodes of the series air Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on CBS. and Paramount+, which you can subscribe to by clicking here. Disclosure: PopCulture.com is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of ViacomCBS.