‘NCIS’ Seems to Be Setting Gibbs Up to Go Part-Time If There’s a Season 19

Mark Harmon Leroy Jethro Gibbs NCIS Season 18 Episode 11
Bill Inoshita/CBS

Leroy Jethro Gibbs’ (Mark Harmon) role at NCIS will likely never be the same as a result of his ongoing arc in Season 18. But it does beg the question: Is NCIS going to be saying goodbye to Gibbs full-time because of it?

A quick recap: Gibbs got (rightfully) angry when he discovered a man was running a dogfighting ring and killing the losers. He beat up the suspect, and because he only regretted not killing him, Director Leon Vance (Rocky Carroll) suspended his agent indefinitely. But let’s be honest: Gibbs could have easily come back from that. After all, his admission was only to Vance. It’s his move after that that could spell the end of his time at the agency or a change to his position there, assuming he even wants to return.

In the latest episode, “Gut Punch,” Gibbs told all to an investigative reporter, Marcie Warren (Pam Dawber), after she tracked him down — first at his favorite diner, then at his house. “What I am most proud of is my investigative work, which is about exposing the truth,” she said. “I know you know something about the truth and I want to be the one to write about it because that’s who I am.”

Considering the article that was printed by episode’s end — “Everything Gibbs said and did is in here almost word for word,” McGee (Sean Murray) noted — she won him over. Whether it’s her words or the fact that she knows about boat engines (the way to Gibbs’ heart or gut or whatever he listens to), he talked.

“I only told the truth,” Gibbs told Vance.

“I came here to tell you face to face whatever comes of this story, whatever happens next, Gibbs, I can’t save you,” his boss made clear.

There has to be some sort of fallout of his actions because by speaking with the press, Gibbs made it bigger than NCIS and went against what the agency was asked to do: not comment. Instead, it was being handled “internally and appropriately,” according to Vance. Did Gibbs just put the wheels in motion for Harmon to potentially be part-time if there is a Season 19? Rumors have suggested that might be the case.

Mark Harmon Pam Dawber NCIS Season 18 Episode 11 Gibbs Marcie

Bill Inoshita/CBS

Could this lead to Gibbs taking on a different role, a consultant of sorts or some new position created for him (like was done with David McCallum‘s Ducky when the former chief medical examiner became the agency’s historian)? His team did, after all, show they can handle investigations without him (even if it’s another team’s they technically shouldn’t have been working).

Whatever happens, we expect to see Marcie continue to have some impact on Gibbs, with Dawber in three more episodes. Sure, it would be easy to assume she’ll be his next love interest since Dawber is Harmon’s wife and Marcie knows boats, but instead, it looks like she’s going to change his life professionally and could very well have set him on his path for the rest of the series by tracking him down in “Gut Punch.” (If Harmon is only around part-time in a 19th season, chances are it would be NCIS‘s last.)

Whatever the case, something tells us that Gibbs hasn’t made the last move that will put him in opposition with NCIS.

NCIS, Tuesdays, 8/7c, CBS