NCIS showrunner Steven D. Binder teases things may look pretty different for Gibbs in the upcoming season of the CBS drama. It was heavily reported over the last few months that the show's executive producer and actor Mark Harmon would be walking away from the show. Though, Binder shares with TV Line Gibbs isn't going anywhere –– but, he will be around a lot less and in a different capacity.
"I'd say that a lot of things are reported on the show that aren't necessarily true. We are focusing right now on telling the best stories we can with the characters we have, and Gibbs is a part of that world, and I think we're doing a pretty good job with that," he told the outlet. "It's a little more complicated under the COVID regulations we're under again, but one of things that we felt was missing in the last half of last season was that we had broken our band up and we wanted to get them back together. That's really what we're focusing on now."
He continued: "I will tell you that it's not necessarily in a form or shape you might have expected. It's not typical, but it will be something that is ultimately really enjoyed." When Season 19 opens, fans will find Gibbs reuniting with someone from his past in order to catch his latest focus. "Well, he'd been hunting down a serial killer, with a reporter (Marcie, played by Pam Dawber) who doesn't really necessarily have the tools to deal with a serial killer. And he's been cut off from his team, from that portion of his world. In the beginning episodes, that's going to change. We're going to 'bring the band back together' to some degree so they can do what we have liked watching for 20 years, which is these people solving crimes together," Binder revealed.
Binder went on to settle a few other cast rumors before Season 19. There have been some rumors that Gary Cole's character, FBI Special Agent Alden Park, was being added to the show as a replacement for Gibbs. Though, Binder shared that making Cole's character more permanent has been in the works for some time. "This is something I'd been saying we should do for a very long time, and when I took over as showrunner it was like, "We're going to do this" — and then we just didn't for a little while. I have been saying that we need to populate more characters in this show, in the vein of Joe Spano who plays Fornell, Muse Watson who plays Mike Franks…. The way you get those people who are really fantastic characters is you bring people in and you try them out and you see how it goes," he said.
"That was what initially motivated [the casting of] Katrina [Law]. With Gary Cole, you can almost imagine [that Agent Park] may be too close to Fornell in a lot of ways — he's from the FBI, he's in the same demo — but that was the initial impetus for bringing in characters," he added. "And we're trying to do that this season with a little more forcefulness, bringing in people in the building who you haven't necessarily seen but you know have been there doing stuff. And if something clicks, we're like "OK, let's bring that person back."