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NCIS Called Out The Fans After Mark Harmon's Exit, And They Didn't Hold Back With Their Feelings

Spoilers below for the latest episode of NCIS, so be warned if you haven't yet watched!

After more than 18 seasons as NCIS' silver-haired head honcho Leroy Jethro Gibbs, Mark Harmon finally took an official step back with the Season 19 installment "Great Wide Open." Fans keeping up with news updates were aware that the actor only had a limited number of episodes to commit to after signing his latest contract agreement, while still serving as an executive producer behind the scenes. But nobody really knew when that big exit would arrive until it was already happening, even if Episode 3 did hint at it pretty strongly with the Alaskan mission.

Understandably, fans used social media as a soap box to share both their happiness for Gibbs' future and their dismay over Mark Harmon's exit. And you can bet after NCIS' Twitter page invited such emotionally driven assessments, the fans delivered. Such as the practical and sympathetic reaction seen below:

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Many fans are 100% appreciative to Mark Harmon and the NCIS squad for dishing out 18 years of episodes with Leroy Gibbs (mostly) at the helm, lasting longer than just about every other actor who's ever graced the set. And for the most part, 2021 Gibbs isn't all that different from 2003 Gibbs, which definitely factored into how hard the fandom has embraced Harmon's work. 

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Fans not only championed Mark Harmon's performances and his longevity, but also his and NCIS' support of the U.S. military. (Which obviously isn't going to end with Gibbs' exit, but still.) 

A huge thank you to Mark Harmon and the Great Leroy Jethro Gibbs for 18 years of outstanding memories and for standing up for the rights and support of our military. You are irreplaceable!!!

@RREVENU_

Not that everyone was purely full of smiles and admiration, since Gibbs' exit was obviously also something of an emotional affair. In part due to the character making that grand announcement while in Alaska, meaning he didn't even get a final day at the office, so to speak, with the full group of characters. But even if he had, something tells me viewers like the one below will be sad all the same.

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Perhaps if Mark Harmon's Gibbs had been the only major NCIS character to leave in the show's history, it might not have been so bad. But he's like — [checks notes] — the bazillionth one to make a high-profile exit, and there are only so many times a fan can make it through such an ordeal, as evidenced by the tweet below.

My heart broke when Kate left. My heart broke when Ziva left. My heart broke when Tony left. My heart broke when Abby left. Now Gibbs?! The heart and soul of the show is leaving?? I don’t know how much more heart break I can take. #NCIS

@IAMTALYA

Of course, even though the majority of the reactions are kindhearted tweets like this one or this one, there are absolutely fans who took the time to rail on NCIS and the episode in question, with quite a few viewers out there saying they won't be tuning back in now that Mark Harmon won't be around anymore. 

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And then there are those who just want to watch the world burn. 

The NCIS writers have been sloppy this season and last season. How can they forget to have Gibbs say goodbye to Palmer? Palmer has been around since the first season. These writers have been incompetent with some storylines. This one and Bishop's. The show is going in the toilet.

@michaelbmeltzer

Even though Mark Harmon's Leroy Gibbs is no longer a lead character on NCIS — and don't go calling Gary Cole's Agent Park his replacement — fans will likely still see the beloved character again at some point in the future. Not only because the actor is still part of the crew in a technical sense, but also because that didn't truly feel like a final episode for the character. So have faith that he'll return at some point near Season 19's end for a more formidable farewell. And if they can bring back Cote De Pablo's Ziva for it, along with any other former cast members, that'd be even better. 

Nick Venable

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.