With Mark Harmon’s Contract Reportedly Ending on ‘NCIS,’ Will Season 18 Be Its Last?

NCIS Season 18 Blood and Treasure Mark Harmon Gibbs
Sonja Flemming/CBS

Is NCIS, the series that kickstarted two successful spinoffs (Los Angeles and New Orleans —), approaching its end date?

Even as rumors fly that yet another spinoff is on its way (set in Hawaii), The Hollywood Reporter reports that Mark Harmon, who has played Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs since NCIS was introduced as a backdoor pilot on JAG in 2003, could soon say goodbye to the show. His contract takes him through the current 18th season and, according to THR‘s sources, he’s set to leave, though is in talks “to return for a handful of episodes” should there be another season.

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The latest milestone, in Season 18, focused on Gibbs and Ducky.

It wouldn’t be the first time NCIS lost a cast member, but it does give us something to think about. Over the years, Sasha Alexander (Kate Todd), Michael Weatherly (Tony DiNozzo), Pauley Perrette (Abby Sciuto), and others have left. Maria Bello, who plays forensic psychologist Special Agent Jack Sloane, is exiting this season, and the series has already teased how her character could be written out.

Agents, forensic scientists, and directors can be replaced (and have been), but can Gibbs? The fan favorite has been the team’s leader for almost two decades. It’s hard to imagine, and likely not something to which CBS would commit without seeing how viewers react to news of his absence, and his possible replacement. One candidate: Special Agent Tim McGee, played by Sean Murray, who we met as a probie and is now senior field agent. It would certainly be fun to see his journey if that happens. Fans may not accept someone entirely new.

Shows can’t last forever (though the NCISs and Law & Orders are giving it a shot). So, chances are that whenever Harmon does says goodbye to Gibbs — maybe he’ll sail off on his boat, and we can see how he gets one out of his basement — fans will have to say goodbye to NCIS.

Gibbs McGee Basement Boat NCIS

Sonja Flemming/CBS

NCIS, Tuesdays, 8/7c, CBS