‘NCIS’: Is the Show Setting the Stage for Gibbs’ Return?

After nearly 20 years as Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs, Mark Harmon made the heartbreaking decision to retire from NCIS. The 70-year-old actor felt that his time with the iconic police procedural had come to an end and, though he was met with an enormous amount of disappointment from fans, he knew stepping down was the right decision for him.

The way that producers chose to write Gibbs off, however, indicates that they’re open to a return in the future. When writing off a character, one of the most common routes taken is d***h. The character is k****d off (typically in dramatic fashion), his or her fellow characters mourn the loss, and the series gets a nice shot of drama to start or end a season.

Jethro Gibbs, however, wasn’t k****d off. Instead, the character had a very peaceful sendoff. After completely a particularly challenging and stressful mission, Gibbs announced that he wasn’t coming back. Rather than return to this NCIS unit, Gibbs opted to stay in Alaska, where he found a “sense of peace.”

As Gibbs is merely in Alaska and in one piece, Mark Harmon could technically return anytime he wanted. But does he want to?

‘NCIS’ Fans Hope This Season 19 Event Will Lead to Gibbs’ Return

With Gibbs in Alaska, Special Agent Parker (Gary Cole) filled Gibbs’ role in the unit. Though the fatherly leader has been away for less than a full season, fans are already begging the actor to return to the series. Hopeful theories constantly flood the internet, with fans discussing how NCIS could bring Gibbs back.

Alden Parker quickly settled in with the fictional unit, but Season 19 was rather rough for the new supervisory special agent. He not only had a great deal of drama with his ex-wife but seems to have drawn the ire of the FBI as well.

In a recent Reddit thread, some fans expressed hope that this conflict with the FBI would lead to a Gibbs return in Season 20. “Do you all think the FBI is gunning for Agent Parker because he let Gibbs go?” the creator of the thread wrote. “I was just wondering since Parker’s old boss was very heated when he reminded Parker that his job was to bring in Gibbs not set him free in Alaska.”

Most fans disagreed with the original post in the comments. As fantastic as it would be to see Gibbs back with the NCIS, fans believe he’s perfectly content at home. “I think Mark is happy to be off-screen,” one fan wrote. “I honestly think we’ve seen the last of Gibbs,” another said. “He won’t return to help Parker. McGee maybe…but not Parker.”

“I’ll be surprised if we ever see Mark Harmon playing Gibbs on screen again,” a third chimed in. “Except maybe in/during the lead-up to the series finale (whenever that happens. Hopefully not for many more seasons to come).”