NCIS Shock: Mark Harmon’s ONE Demand Before Becoming Gibbs!

Mark Harmon, star of NCIS, reflects on a crucial request he made before joining the CBS series, recalling how he insisted on a change. Playing the iconic role of Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs, Harmon has become synonymous with long-running procedurals. Harmon remained a key figure in the original NCIS for 19 seasons, even after his exit in 2021, leaving a lasting impact with Gibbs’ character amid numerous cast changes.

In an interview with Entertainment Tonight to discuss his new book, Ghosts of Honolulu, Harmon shares that his character’s name almost became a dealbreaker. Initially not drawn to the NCIS script, he found the name Leroy Jethro Gibbs intriguing. However, there was a brief moment when Gibbs’ name was changed to something more common, which nearly became an issue. Harmon insisted on retaining the unique name, emphasizing his attachment to Leroy Jethro Gibbs.

“I didn’t expect to like the script as much as I did when I first read it. I was reading other things, and I was also trying to stay home – young family and I wanted to try and be home more. I read ‘Leroy Jethro Gibbs’ and thought, ‘Huh, I like that name, and then for a brief second when I decided that I liked the idea of the project, the name changed.”

“Bob Johnson or something like that. And I went, ’No, no, it’s gotta be Leroy Jethro Gibbs.’ The creator said, ’No, you can’t play a guy named Leroy Jethro Gibbs,’ and I said, ‘Why not?’ And then it went back, and I was happy about it.”

Harmon’s departure from NCIS has seen the introduction of veteran actor Gary Cole in the role of Alden Parker, yet the potential for Gibbs’ return remains. Despite leaving the show, Harmon has emphasized that Gibbs is not “retired.” Executive producer Steven Binder has hinted that Gibbs won’t be permanently absent, given the ongoing nature of NCIS, where familiar faces can make intermittent appearances. Harmon’s farewell to Gibbs, choosing to stay in Alaska for a sense of peace, adds an emotional layer to the character’s journey.

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