'NCIS' Renewed for Season 16

NCIS fans are about to see a whole lot more of Agent Gibbs. CBS has renewed NCIS for a 16th season, the network announced Friday, and Mark Harmon, who plays Gibbs on the show, has signed on to star and executive produce the long-running procedural.

“It’s pretty simple – viewers everywhere love NCIS,” Kelly Kahl, President of CBS Entertainment, said in a statement. “This show speaks to viewers of all ages, in all parts of the country and around the world. NCIS‘ amazing characters and terrific storytelling result in some of TV’s most passionate fans. Of course, none of this would be possible without an outstanding production team, and talented cast led by the incomparable and absolutely tireless Mark Harmon. We’re thrilled he is returning as the centerpiece of the show, and we could not be more excited for NCIS 16th season.”

During NCIS' current 15th season, the crime show is averaging 13.3 million total viewers and a 1.4 demo rating, ranking number one among CBS dramas.

The news of Harmon's contract extension comes as NCIS is about to lose one of its last-remaining original cast members. Co-star Pauley Perrette is leaving the series after 15 years as forensic specialist Abby Sciuto. Her exit will be shown in two special episodes, with her final appearance occurring in season 15's penultimate episode airing Tuesday, May 8.

Perrette posted photos of the day she filmed her final scene last week, sharing snaps with co-stars Sean Murray (Timothy McGree), Brian Dietzen (Dr. Jimmy Palmer), Emily Wickersham (Eleanor Bishop) and Wilmer Valderrama (Nick Torres), sharing her love for them and the show.

"Finished shooting my last scene of NCIS with @SeanHMurray @BrianDietzen @EmilyWickersham @WValderrama Airs May 8th," Perrette wrote alongside the four photos. 'LOVE Y’ALL!!!"

Fans mourned the loss of Abby, and wondered why she wasn't sticking around until the show's finale episode on May 22.

"Thanks for 15 seasons of Abby! Gonna leave a big void. Can’t believe Abby’s leaving before the finale on May 22? Big blow to the team & fans," one person said.

In a separate tweet shared Saturday, Perrette wrote that Abby's exit would come in two separate episodes.

"Abby’s exit from #NCIS is in two parts. May 1 and May 8th. I worked really hard to give you my best. I really hope EVERYONE tunes in. Bless," she said.

Perrette announced in November that she would be exiting the CBS crime drama after the current season, having been a series regular and fan favorite since the very first episode in 2003.

In her exit announcement, she wrote that she made the decision in 2016 and denied rumors that she was starting a skincare line and that she was leaving due to problems with the show's creative team.

Because producers were aware of the star's departure from the beginning, George Schenck and Frank Cardea teased that the character will receive a "special send-off."

"We've known for some time this would be Pauley's final season on NCIS and have been working toward a special send-off," Schenck and Cardea told Deadline in October. "From day one, she has brought incredible passion and specificity to the role. Abby is a character that inspires millions of fans around the world, and all of us at NCIS are appreciative of Pauley for portraying her."

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Abby has gone through a makeover in her final season, and with the season finale expected in the spring, fans continue to be unprepared to say goodbye to a favorite character.

NCIS airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.