Mark Harmon is confirmed to return as Leroy Jethro Gibbs in a prequel series, but he can come back much sooner and to the primary NCIS show.
Before he returns for his prequel, Mark Harmon can reprise his role as Leroy Jethro Gibbs in the main NCIS show much earlier. After almost two decades as the face of the franchise, Harmon left during NCIS season 19 after a case brought him to Alaska. Having been on the air for so long, losing a major cast member isn’t new to the procedural when the actor exited. Over the years, Gibbs saw the departures of some of his best agents, including Kate Todd, Tony DiNozzo Jr., and Ziva David. Still, losing Harmon’s character is arguably the biggest one
That being said, since Gibbs simply retired from the force, the door remains open for his potential return. Granted that the FBI seems to be determined to take him down, it won’t be that difficult to elude him especially given the help of his allies. Harmon is actually already confirmed to step back into the shoes of his iconic character by narrating the upcoming prequel offshoot. The project is set to debut during the 2024-2025 TV season, but the actor can physically appear in NCIS season 21 for one important reason.
Mark Harmon’s Gibbs Can Return In NCIS Season 21’s Ducky Tribute Episode
On the heels of original cast member David McCallum’s death, NCIS season 21 will have a tribute episode for his much-beloved character, Donald “Ducky” Mallard. The said outing will see the team learn about Ducky’s passing and tackle a case that will highlight how much he has meant to the team, even after he’s already gone. Harmon can make his return to NCIS via the Ducky tribute episode to participate in the case and pay tribute to his friend. It will also make up for Gibbs’ absence during the landmark NCIS season 20 despite calls for an appearance.
Why Gibbs Needs To Return For Ducky’s NCIS Farewell Episode
Although Gibbs can easily return to NCIS, there needs to be a big enough cause to bring Harmon back to the show, and arguably, there’s no better reason than for him to pay his respects to Ducky. Both are original cast members, who pioneered the long-running police procedural when it premiered in 2003. That being said, their friendship precedes the events of the series. Ducky and Gibbs met back in the ’80s, while both were still young men finding their personal and professional paths. It’s also the reason why Ducky should appear in the NCIS Gibbs prequel.
During Harmon’s farewell episode, the pair had an emotional final conversation. Gibbs expressed how grateful he is for Ducky’s friendship — highlighting how strong their bond is. Considering this, it’s difficult to imagine that he won’t make the trip back to DC upon learning of his oldest pal’s demise. Even if he doesn’t partake in the actual case that the team will tackle in the tribute episode, an appearance during the final rights for Ducky would be enough. Harmon released a statement on the heels of McCallum’s death. It only makes sense that Gibbs also pays tribute to his NCIS character.