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'NCIS' star Mark Harmon officially exits the show after nearly 20 years, but his character is very much still alive

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mark harmon NCIS
Mark Harmon on 'NCIS.' Cliff Lipson/CBS
  • Mark Harmon officially ended his run as Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs on 'NCIS' Monday, Deadline reported.

  • The character will stay in Alaska where, in the series, he spent some time working to crack a case.

  • Showrunner Steve Binder didn't rule out Gibbs' return to the series and said to "never count Leroy Jethro Gibbs out."

Monday night marked Mark Harmon's last night on "NCIS" after more than 18 seasons on the show.

In the episode, his character, Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs, chose to stay in Alaska after he and Special Agent Timothy McGee, played by Sean Murray, spent time in the state solving a case involving a contract killer.

"I'm not going back, Tim," Gibbs said while fishing. "I'm not going back home."

"NCIS" showrunner Steve Binder praised the longstanding headliner of the CBS drama in a statement to Deadline.

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

CBS Entertainment President Kelly Kahl joined Binder in praising Harmon for his work on "NCIS."

"Mark's always been part of the show, Mark's always going to be part of the show," Kahl told Deadline. "In terms of his on-air appearances, we're just going to have to see how it plays out going forward."

Neither ruled out the possibility of Gibbs' return to the series.

Harmon has not commented on his departure from the show.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

Read the original article on Insider