Nearly a year after Mark Harmon made his final on-screen appearance as team captain Leroy Jethro Gibbs, the veteran actor is no longer included in the new opening credits for NCIS's Season 20, which debuted Monday night.
McGee actor Sean Murray is now the first cast member to be shown in the opening montage.
Another thing to note is that Harmon was mentioned as a series regular in CBS press releases for the first episode of the season but not for any others.
After Season 18, Harmon apparently was prepared to hang up the Gibbs cap, but he soon discovered that CBS might decide not to renew NCIS if he did. As a result, he consented to return for Season 19 in a limited capacity, but left after four episodes.
In that final episode, Special Agent Gibbs, who had been sidelined, made the decision to remain in "the middle of nowhere," in Alaska, where a multi-episode narrative had taken him. He kept his badge, pistol, and job. However, Harmon continued to appear in the opening credits of the long-running drama for the rest of Season 19.
Season 19 of television's most popular drama was a "transition" year, according to Kelly Kahl, president of CBS Entertainment, who spoke to TVLine back in May. But with Season 20 in mind, he said it was "something we might explore at coming future" to take Harmon's name out of the opening credits.
Regarding the possibility of Harmon appearing on NCIS once more, Kahl stated, "Everyone is aware that the door is open if he ever wants to pop in for an episode, or numerous episodes."