1 ‘NCIS’ Cast Member Agreed That ‘if Gibbs Goes, so Does the Show’

1 ‘NCIS’ Cast Member Agreed That ‘if Gibbs Goes, so Does the Show’

‘NCIS’ once left a few fans and stars wondering what the show might look like without Mark Harmon way before Harmon officially left.

Mark Harmon’s tenure with the hit series NCIS recently came to an end. But years earlier, the series teased the actor’s character Jethro Gibbs potentially leaving earlier than he did. Many people thought this would’ve been a mistake, including one of Harmon’s own castmates.

‘NCIS’ once teased sending off Mark Harmon’s Jethro Gibbs early

Before his recent departure, the fate of Harmon’s character hung in the balance after the show’s season 12 finale. Longtime fans might remember Gibbs being put in a situation that could’ve spelled tragedy for the agent. But despite the suspenseful cliffhanger, most believed Harmon would return. Including his castmate Michael Weatherly.

“I don’t think anyone thought that was going to be Cliffhanger of the Year, because obviously he’s coming back,” Weatherly once told TV Guide. “It’s more about how he comes back, how that impacts the team, and what the ramifications are.”

Some fans protested that if Gibbs did theoretically leave the series, NCIS wouldn’t be the same. Actor Rocky Carroll, who played Vance in the show, agreed with the sentiment that Harmon’s Gibbs had to return.

“It’s funny, because people say, ‘If Gibbs goes, so goes the show. So he’s got to survive,’” Carroll said. “To which I say, ‘Yeah, but will he be the same?’”

However, some actors felt the show wouldn’t be the same when Harmon returned, either. But it was change for the better.

“A lot of older shows tend to figure out where their ‘safe place’ is and stay there,” Sean Murray added. “We, though, like to keep things moving, so this is going to be a really interesting year.”

Mark Harmon felt anyone was replaceable in ‘NCIS’, including him

Harmon has always been very modest about NCIS’ success. Although the actor was the face of NCIS since its inception, he didn’t consider himself the sole source of the show’s accomplishments. Instead, he reminded that working on NCIS was a team effort.

“I’m not trying to shuck off our success, because it’s all earned, every bit of it, by a lot of people,” Harmon once told The Seattle Times. “I’m not the big dog. I might be a dog. But there’s a lot of dogs.”

Still, NCIS was used to welcoming new faces to their family, as well as saying goodbye to familiar names. Just recently, Harmon made his shocking departure from the long-running police procedural. Yet the series shows no signs of slowing down. This might’ve proven Harmon’s belief that no NCIS star was safe from being written off the show. He felt Zoe McLellan’s spin-off NCIS: New Orleans shared the same flexibility as well.

“I really believe this, but I think anybody on this show is replaceable,” Harmon once said on The Late Late Show with James Corden.

Harmon also felt characters leaving the show was a common occurrence in shows like NCIS and New Orleans.

This show births characters leaving, it always has. And I think there’s always been a creative footprint on this show. I think there’s a creative footprint on Zoe [Mclellan’s] show as well. And I think it keeps actors healthy. It’s not my choice, number one, but I think anybody is replaceable,” Harmon explained.

Mark Harmon almost left ‘NCIS’ because of a name change

There were a few situations that almost made Harmon leave the show early. When the actor was first cast in the program, he was told that there were plans to change his character’s name. This was a deal-breaker for Harmon, who’d already grown attached to Leroy Jethro Gibbs.

“I read ‘Leroy Jethro Gibbs’ and thought, ‘Huh, I like that name,’” Harmon told ET not too long ago. “And then for a brief second when I decided that I liked the idea of the project, the name changed.”

It didn’t help that Harmon’s character was given a rather forgettable name as a substitute. Fortunately, Harmon convinced the show’s producers to stick with Gibbs, facilitating his involvement in the project.

“Bob Johnson or something like that. And I went, ‘No, no, it’s gotta be Leroy Jethro Gibbs.’ The creator said, ‘No, you can’t play a guy named Leroy Jethro Gibbs,’ and I said, ‘Why not?’ And then it went back and I was happy about it,” Harmon said.


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