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Mark Harmon opens up about departing his role as Leroy Gibbs on NCIS: 'I thought it was honest'

Mark Harmon Breaks His Silence On Leaving NCIS After Nearly 20 Years When He Shares Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs ‘Not Retired’ But Lives In Alaska

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Mark Harmon has broken his silence on leaving NCIS after 20 years.

The 70-year-old actor – who played as Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs for nearly two decades – told Entertainment tonight he was happy with his character.

“Suddenly this character has taken the path it did. I thought it was fair and okay,” he said.

Harmon went on to state that the special agent was not dead and left the door open to a possible return to the program. The performer said, “I’m not retired… the character lives in Alaska as far as I know.”

Opening: Mark Harmon spoke about his departure from NCIS in one of the special featurettes in the Season 19 DVD release

Opening: Mark Harmon spoke about his departure from NCIS in one of the special featurettes in the Season 19 DVD release

Harmon began by noting that he had enjoyed portraying Agent Gibbs over the years.

“What has always attracted me here is the character I play and to keep it fresh and challenging,” he stated.

The Emmy Award-nominated artist also expressed his approval of Gibbs’ actions on the program.

“Suddenly this character has taken the path it did. I thought it was fair and okay,” he said.

Grateful: Harmon began by noting that he had enjoyed portraying Agent Gibbs over the years;  he is seen in 2017

Grateful: Harmon began by noting that he had enjoyed portraying Agent Gibbs over the years;  he is seen in 2017

Grateful: Harmon began by noting that he had enjoyed portraying Agent Gibbs over the years; he is seen in 2017

Harmon went on to state that the special agent was not dead and left the door open to a possible return to the program.

The performer said, “I’m not retired… the character lives in Alaska as far as I know.”

The actor initially played Gibbs on two episodes of the police program JAG.

He went on to land the role in NCIS, which served as a spin-off from the older series.

Nothing solid: Harmon further stated that the special agent was not dead and left the door open to a possible return to the program

Nothing solid: Harmon further stated that the special agent was not dead and left the door open to a possible return to the program

Nothing solid: Harmon further stated that the special agent was not dead and left the door open to a possible return to the program

Notably, the performer was one of the executive producers on the long-running show.

Harmon stayed with the program until 2021, when his character moved to Alaska at the end of an episode titled Great Wide Open.

Steven D. Binder made a statement at the time: Entertainment tonight to express his feelings about the actor’s departure.

On the way: Harmon stayed with the program until 2021, when his character moved to Alaska at the end of an episode titled Great Wide Open

On the way: Harmon stayed with the program until 2021, when his character moved to Alaska at the end of an episode titled Great Wide Open

On the way: Harmon stayed with the program until 2021, when his character moved to Alaska at the end of an episode titled Great Wide Open

As an executive producer and dear friend, Mark remains an integral part of the fabric of the show. Our North Star has always remained true to our characters, and that truth has always led…where those characters are going,” he said.

The showrunner noted that Harmon’s character may appear on the program in the future.

“So as for the future of Gibbs, as longtime fans of the show over the years may have pointed out…never count Leroy Jethro Gibbs out,” he said.

Leaving the door open: The showrunner further noted that Harmon's character may appear on the program in the future

Leaving the door open: The showrunner further noted that Harmon's character may appear on the program in the future

Leaving the door open: The showrunner further noted that Harmon’s character may appear on the program in the future

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