'NCIS': Will Mark Harmon's Gibbs Die or Leave in Season 19?

Mark Harmon's fate on NCIS is still hanging in limbo. Although the actor has extended his contract through the recently renewed Season 19, is it possible that Harmon's onscreen counterpart, Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs, could die or leave the team in the upcoming season?

Season 18 left Gibbs' fate in jeopardy (warning: Season 18 spoilers ahead!) after the finale ended with the maiden voyage of his boat, dubbed "Rule 91," going up in flames following an explosion. The last glimpse fans got of Gibbs, who earlier in the season had been suspended after he assaulted a man who abused dogs, was of him alive, but still in the water swimming away from the explosion. The way Season 18 ended only added fuel to the fire in regards to rumors of Harmon's potential exit from the series.

Speculation that Harmon could be leaving NCIS was first sparked in February following a report from The Hollywood Reporter that confirmed Harmon's contract was up at the end of Season 18 and the series "could be nearing its end" if Harmon did not renew his contract. At the time, the outlet reported that the actor was initially planning to exit the show, though he reconsidered and entered negotiations after learning that his departure could spell the end of the flagship crime procedural. Kelly Kahl, the president of CBS Entertainment, then told Deadline that they "take it year by year with Mark, we'd love to have him as long as he'd like to be here." In April, CBS renewed NCIS for Season 19, and while the renewal came with another season contract for Harmon, multiple sources have said that Harmon will only appear in a "small number" of episodes, somewhere "in the low single digits." Amid this reported lessened involvement in the season, it was also reported that longtime television veteran Gary Cole was in talks for a major role on the series, sparking some speculation that he could be replacing Harmon in some capacity.

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While all of the available information may seem to be hinting at a likely departure for Harmon after Season 19, neither the actor nor CBS has confirmed any such speculation. This means that fans will ultimately have to wait and see what happens to their favorite character. As they wait for the next season, which does not yet have a premiere date, fans can catch up on all previous episodes of NCIS on Paramount+ by signing up for a free trial here. Along with starring in the series, Harmon also serves as an executive producer, and it is unclear if he would remain in that capacity even if his onscreen character left the show.

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