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'NCIS' exit: Mark Harmon leaves hit series after 18 seasons

Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs has given up his badge — at least for now.
Mark Harmon as NCIS Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs on NCIS.
Actor Mark Harmon leaves “NCIS” after 18 seasons on the hit series. CBS via Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

That’s a wrap!

Monday night’s episode of “NCIS” marks the end of veteran star Mark Harmon’s 18-season run on the series that started off back in 2003.

The episode, titled “Great Wide Open,” followed Harmon’s character, Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs on a criminal case in Alaska, and when the case ended, so did Gibbs’ tenure with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

Somehow, in the wilderness of Alaska, he'd found "a sense of peace" for the first time since his wife and daughter died, and Gibbs told partner Tim McGee (Sean Murray) “I’m not going back.”

And evidently, Harmon is saying the same thing about his onscreen work on the show, at least as a series regular.

Deadline was the first to report the news. Shortly after the episode aired, Steven D. Binder, “NCIS” showrunner and executive producer, shared a message with faithful fans of the series on social media.

“As an executive producer and dear friend, Mark continues to be an integral part of the fabric of the show,” Binder wrote. “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.”

This week, it guided Gibbs to turn in his badge. But Binder hinted that while the beloved character is being left behind in the Last Frontier for now, he may not stay out of sight forever.

“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,” he wrote.

The reaction from those fans was swift and mournful.

"Gibbs will never be replaced ever we love him and I’m gonna miss him," one fan wrote.

“End of an era," another wrote in the comments that followed the post on the official “NCIS” Instagram.

Cote de Pablo, Michael Weatherly and Mark Harmon on "NCIS."CBS via Getty Images

Another raved, “I've seen every single episode. I've seen people come and go, from Kate, Ziva, Tony, Abby and even Bishop but NCIS is Gibbs. He goes, I Go.” And yet another joined the chorus, adding, “If Gibbs goes, we all go!!”