Look, we all love Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon). He’s the face of NCIS, and were it not for his steady leadership and stoic charisma it’s hard to imagine the franchise becoming as successful as it is. Gibbs decided to leave the show in season 19, and rumors have swirled of his return ever since.
While it would be goosebump-inducing to see Gibbs back in action with the NCIS team, we feel that bringing the character back, only a few years after his dramatic exit, would actually hurt the show and his legacy. These are the main reasons why we arrived at this conclusion:
Gibbs would face legal action for what he did in NCIS season 19
Let’s start with the practical reasons. Gibbs effectively went rogue in the season 19 finale, ditching FBI Alden Parker (Gary Cole) and helping a professional hitman (Jason Wiles) to get to Alaska so he could kill himself. The reasons why he did these things were sound, in so much as they helped put an end to a tangled criminal conspiracy, but he still broke several laws in the process.
Gibbs told Parker where to find him, but the fact that he never came back in to the NCIS office meant that he effectively evaded legal punishment. There’s a sense that he will be exempt from punishment as long as he lays low in Alaska. If he were to suddenly return to the show, then the legal system would have a field day.
Gibbs returning to NCIS season 21 would lessen the impact of his exit
The execution of Gibbs’ exit was excellent, giving fans a worthy sendoff without having to resort to twists and or sudden deaths. It would have been cheap to kill the character off, or simply have him retire in a more traditional fashion. The NCIS writers managed to toe the line between unexpected and satisfying, and bringing Gibbs back would risk undoing all of that.
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Mark Harmon is still credited as an executive producer on NCIS, and he’s made it clear that Gibbs isn’t technically retired, but we could easily see a world in which the character stays in Alaska and lives out the rest of his days in relative peace. He has, after all, been through quite a lot of trauma on the job. He deserves some time to himself.
Gibbs doesn’t have a personal reason to return to NCIS
Gibbs was one of the few original cast members who was on the show heading into season 19. Most of the people he’s been established with had either been killed in the line of duty or decided to leave to pursue other career interests.
Past a certain point, it only made sense to have him do the same. We want to see our characters grow, and after two decades of service onscreen (and who knows how many years offscreen), it felt like the right time for Gibbs to start the next chapter of his life.
The writers would have to pull something out of thin air to bring the character back, and at that point, one has to question whether it would even be worth it. Our suggestion? Leave Gibbs be.
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