Spoilers ahead for Episode 2 of NCIS Season 19, called "Nearly Departed."
Despite reports that NCIS would feature much less of Mark Harmon as Gibbs in Season 19, he was at the center of the action of "Nearly Departed," but ultimately had to say goodbye to another person who had become important to him. The team honed in on the serial killer who blew up Gibbs' boat and took a lot of lives, bringing in Pam Dawber's Marcie in the process. By the end of the hour, Marcie bowed out of the action in a way that pretty definitively means no more working with Gibbs... for now.
Gibbs and Marcie got pretty close over the course of their joint investigation in Season 18, when Gibbs was suspended from NCIS and not too upset about it. The arrival of Tobias Fornell in "Nearly Departed" (which also introduced Gary Cole's new character) resulted in Gibbs being ribbed about feelings for Marcie, and showed some jealousy about her. Toward the end of the episode, after the killer was caught, Gibbs paid Marcie a visit, only to learn that she was leaving to go stay at a remote cabin to focus on her writing, at the urging of her friend "Mitch."
Gibbs was clearly not happy to hear about this "Mitch," although Marcie seemed pretty oblivious to his reaction. Gibbs ultimately met this Mitch, only to discover that "Mitch" is short for "Michelle" and Marcie is headed to the cabin with her gal pal. It wasn't 100% clear if Marcie and Michelle are just friends or something more, but her departure indicates that she and Gibbs won't be investigating any more cases together for the foreseeable future. She did say goodbye with a hug and noted that they worked well together, so that could be a sign that she'll be back.
Or it was a meta joke about Mark Harmon and Pam Dawber being married in real life, and therefore obviously working well together in the real world, but it was a goodbye either way. Marcie's departure comes less than a full season after Gibbs had to say goodbye to Maria Bello's Jack Sloane. While his relationship with Sloane went back a lot further, involved a kiss by the end of their time together to make their relationship explicitly romantic, and ended with her a lot farther away than heading to a cabin, there was some emotion in the parting with Marcie as well.
Plus, saying goodbye to Marcie came shortly after Fornell gave Gibbs something to think about regarding his future – or lack thereof – at NCIS. Fornell asked Gibbs how many cases it will take to feel like the void inside him has been filled, and called him out for always finding a way to justify staying on the job. The conclusion was that chasing bad guys may no longer be the answer, and may in fact be the problem. It seemed to me like NCIS was setting Gibbs up to explore civilian life a bit more, and who better for him to do that with than Marcie?
Well, the end of the episode proved that's not going to happen, but after Gibbs had his death faked in "Nearly Departed" shortly following his boat being blown up with him on board, it's possible that NCIS is still pointing him towards a life that doesn't involve investigating crimes on a regular basis. Marcie has been important to his journey, no matter what does or doesn't happen next. See what happens in the rest of Season 19 for Gibbs with new episodes of NCIS in its new time slot of 9 p.m. ET on CBS on Monday nights.
Resident of One Chicago, Bachelor Nation, and Cleveland. Has opinions about crossovers, Star Wars, and superheroes. Will not time travel.
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