Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs has closed his last case.
Mark Harmon bid farewell to “NCIS” Monday night, turning in his badge in his — and the show’s — 19th season.
“I’m not going back, Tim,” Gibbs told Special Agent Timothy McGee (Sean Murray) and NCIS Director Vance (Rocky Carroll). “I’m not going back home.”
Monday night’s episode, “Great Wide Open,” saw the NCIS agents head to Alaska to hunt a hitman hired by a local mining company.
Gibbs said he felt “sense of peace” in Alaska that had been missing since the deaths of his first wife Shannon (Darby Stanchfield) and daughter Kelly (Mary Mouser), and he was “not ready to let it go.”
McGee asked Gibbs exactly what he was looking for in Alaska, to which he replied that he didn’t know.
“My gut’s telling me I’ll know when I find it,” Gibbs responded.
Harmon’s exit had been speculated for months, especially after he signed on for the 19th season only in a “limited capacity.” Last season’s finale ended in a boat explosion, but few believed “NCIS” would actually kill off Gibbs.
Gary Cole had also been brought in as a series regular for the current season, seemingly providing a replacement for Harmon. Katrina Law also joined the cast, already populated by Murray, Carroll, Brian Dietzen, David McCallum, Wilmer Valderrama and Diona Reasonover.
“As an executive producer and dear friend, Mark continues to be an integral part of the fabric of the show,” showrunner Steve Binder said in a statement.
“Our north star has always been staying true to our characters, and that truth has always guided the stories we tell and where those characters go. So regarding the future of Gibbs, as long-time fans of the show may have noticed over the years...never count Leroy Jethro Gibbs out.”