Where is Gibbs from NCIS? The show offers an update after a long disappearance

NCIS is one of the most popular police procedural series on CBS and with the premiere of Season 21, it became the third-longest-running scripted, live-action prime-time TV series in the U..S.

Ever since its premiere back in September 2003, special agent Leroy Gibbs, played by Mark Harmon was one of the focal characters. After 19 seasons, it was shocking for fans to see the departure of Gibbs from the show but the latest episode of NCIS saw a rare mention of the fan-favorite character.

Gibbs last appeared in the series at the beginning of Season 19, after which he departed from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service to enjoy a quiet life in Alaska. The character was only mentioned rarely in the series since Season 19 before a photo of him made a special appearance in the second episode of Season 21.

Special Agent Leroy Gibbs sends a special package to McGee in Season 21 Episode 2 of NCIS

It has been over two years since Mark Harmon’s Gibbs appeared in NCIS. He was last seen in Season 19 when he ditched the FBI to help the hitman (Jason Wiles) go to where he wanted to die. He had broken the law in helping the hitman out in exchange for information pertaining to a case and after finally solving it, he decided to stay back in Alaska.

However, in Season 21 Episode 2 senior field agent Timothy McGee (Sean Murray) is shown to have received an envelope from the fictional area of Naktok Bay in Southwest Alaska, where Gibbs had gone to retire. The envelope contained a Polaroid featuring Gibbs, McGee, and the late Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard (David McCallum). The episode was a tribute to Ducky who had to be written off the show following the death of actor David McCallum.

Even though Gibbs was absent from the NCIS Ducky homage, he was nonetheless present in some capacity in the season 21 episode. He is included in the CBS program in a flashback scene involving the two lifelong friends.

The way Gibbs exited from the NCIS team leaves a lot to the imagination as his character is alive in the series but lives off the grid and away from the action. The decision of Gibbs to retire was spurred by the actor Mark Harmon’s decision to pursue fresh and challenging material after a long time with the CBS series.

In an exclusive interview with TVLine showrunner Steven D. Binder once said the following:

“That’s a really interesting veil, where Gibbs is and how we left him. There’s this feeling among the writing staff — and I share it — that we left him sort of nowhere but also everywhere. Like, when I think of Gibbs, I don’t think of him living in an apartment in Alaska. Instead, I imagine he’s sort of melted into pixie dust and is floating around in the sky until he is called back to duty.”

When Mark Harmon was asked about a possible return of Gibbs in a Q&A session with Entertainment Tonight in November 2023, he said the following:

“He’s probably sitting in a stream up in Alaska fishing. Is he going to get out of the stream? I don’t know. But if he is, I don’t know about it.”

Although Harmon left the show as an actor, he still continues to serve as one of the executive producers of the show.

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