NCIS Showrunner Sounds Like He Doesn't Want Fans Worried About Mark Harmon's Gibbs In Season 19

ncis season 19 mark harmon gibbs cbs
(Image credit: CBS)

NCIS ended Season 18 on a fiery cliffhanger when Gibbs' adventure on the boat that he finally finished (and somehow got out of his basement) turned nightmarish with an explosion. Luckily for fans who might have started to wonder if those reports of Mark Harmon's return for Season 19 had been greatly exaggerated, there was a shot of Gibbs swimming away from the debris. So, what's next now that he seemingly has a target on his back? Possibly just more danger, but NCIS showrunner Steven D. Binder's comments sound like he doesn't want fans too worried about Gibbs.

The fact that Gibbs survived the explosion at all, let alone was still conscious when he was floating in the water, is a testament to his nature as a survivor, and it really seemed for a few moments when the Season 18 finale first aired that NCIS had killed him off. According to showrunner Steven Binder, there's a reason why that episode ended on Gibbs swimming, as he told TVLine:

We shot a lot of different things for that [sequence], and there were a lot of different ways to cut it. And what we left with was something that we felt left all possibilities open. We know he’s not dead right there, and we know he’s able to swim well enough…. All things are still possible with Gibbs.

Mark Harmon is expected to be in far fewer episodes of NCIS this season, after the star reportedly considered leaving the series before finding out that it would likely be cancelled without him to headline. For a while in Season 18, it seemed like Gibbs would be around a lot less in Season 19 just because he got himself in hot water at work and would have to be around as a consultant of some sort rather than an agent. But as Steven Binder said, all things are still possible for Leroy Gibbs, and shots have been fired.

Of course, it was Gibbs' time off from NCIS after his brutal beating of a man who had been abusing dogs that got him in trouble in the first place, as he was tracking a serial killer with investigative journalist Marcie Warren. Their dynamic was fun by virtue of the fact that Mark Harmon and Pam Dawber, who plays Marcie, are married in real life, but their case certainly wasn't into anything fun, and the odds seem good that the killer is the one responsible for trying to blow up Gibbs.

Key word being "trying" there, because it sounds like Gibbs will be on the offensive, and that doesn't bode well for the bad guy! Steven Binder elaborated on what's on the way for Gibbs, confirming that Marcie will still be helping him out, but he won't have the same resources he once did as an NCIS agent. The showrunner previewed:

Gibbs has been hunting down this serial killer. And he’s doing it alone... He’s cut off from his team… but in the beginning episodes, that’s going to change.

The showrunner didn't confirm what kind of time jump NCIS will or will not deliver in Season 19, but fans shouldn't go into the new batch of episodes expecting Gibbs' storyline to stay completely independent from what McGee, Torres, and the rest are facing while investigating the actual NCIS crimes. Kasie and Jimmy seem like logical people for Gibbs to reach out to, for their expertise, but Gibbs has a bond with McGee that goes back a long way. Plus, Torres might have a lot on his mind after the departure of Bishop, and quite possibly a new partner.

See what happens next for Gibbs when NCIS premieres Season 19 in a new time slot, on CBS Mondays at 9 p.m. ET, ahead of new episodes of NCIS: Hawai'i starting on September 20 in the fall TV lineup.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).