Nearly ten months after Leroy Jethro Gibbs decided to stay behind in Alaska, NCIS veteran Mark Harmon has shared his thoughts on his character’s sendoff. In a Season 19 DVD featurette, Harmon expressed how the opportunity to tackle “fresh” and “challenging” material kept him leading the CBS drama for over 18 seasons.

Reflecting on Gibbs’ ultimate departure, which aired last October, Harmon mentioned, “Plot-wise, this character has taken the path that it did. I thought it was honest and okay with.” Harmon was reportedly ready to retire Gibbs after Season 18 but agreed to return in a limited capacity for Season 19 after learning that CBS might not renew NCIS without his involvement. He ended up leaving four episodes into the season.

Although Gibbs remained in the opening credits throughout Season 19, it remains uncertain if he will be included when Season 20’s credits roll. CBS Entertainment president Kelly Kahl described Season 19 as a “transition” year, and the status of opening credits featuring Harmon is something they might reconsider for Season 20.

As for the possibility of Harmon making future on-screen appearances, Kahl mentioned in May, “Everyone is aware that the door is open if he ever wants to pop in for an episode or multiple episodes.” Harmon emphasized in the DVD clip that, as far as he knows, Gibbs is still “living in Alaska.”

By chrysos