NCIS alludes to Mark Harmon's departure and possible return in latest episode

NCIS fans were thrown for a loop when series lead Mark Harmon aka Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs announced his departure from the show in season 19.

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However, the show isn't shying away from making references to the iconic role, as evidenced by the recently aired Fall finale installment.

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The episode featured Sean Murray's character Timothy McGee reviving the storyline of his long-running hobby as a writer.

He made a reference to the central character of his story, Agent Tibbs, clearly based off his boss, mentioning also that Gibbs was currently in Alaska.

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The character's wife Delilah McGee, who also appeared in the episode, even confirmed this, saying: "(You've) barely written a word since Gibbs left for Alaska. Gibbs is not what makes you great."

Jessica Knight, played by Katrina Law, got her first introduction to the joke, quipping: "Your lead character's name is Special Agent Tibbs?"

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Special Agent Gibbs was referenced on the show's latest episode

Timothy responded: "Gibbs and Tibbs are wildly different people," before also adding: "Novel's going great, I'm just having some trouble getting started."

However, Sean made another final reference to the fate of Harmon's Gibbs by saying: "LJ Tibbs is retired, remember? So I have a new main character I think fans will love just as much as I do."

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Fans were definitely enthusiastic about the nod to the long-running lead and hoped for Mark's return to the Agent Gibbs mantle.

"@SeanHMurray just [made] a reference back to Gibbs/McGee goodbye scene ‘Great Wide Open’ still hits my heart," one fan commented.

mark harmon on ncis
mark harmon on ncis

Mark stepped away from NCIS in season 19

Another said: "I know that feeling McGee. We all still miss Gibbs," while a third also said: "Delilah knows that her husband is frustrated since Gibbs stayed in Alaska. #NCIS."

The series' Fall finale aired on 5 December and will go on break for the month, returning to screens in the new year on 2 January, 2023.

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