11 months after leaving the popular CBS series NCIS, Mark Harmon has finally been dropped from the show's opening credits. Despite leaving the show four episodes into the season, the actor who played Leroy Jethro Gibbs appeared in the title sequence for the entire 19th season.
Gibbs made the decision to stay in Alaska and spend his days fishing after deciding he needed a vacation from the stressful work. After the passing of his wife Shannon (Darby Stanchfield) and his daughter Kelly, it was the only location where Gibbs finally "found a sense of peace," as he told McGee, a character played by Sean Murray (Mary Mouser).
Now that Gibbs is absent, McGee has stepped up to the plate and is the first person you see in the opening credits. Co-stars Wilmer Valderrama, Katrina Law, Brian Dietzen, Diona Reasonover, David McCallum, Rocky Carroll, and Gary Cole are listed after him in the title sequence.
Given that Gibbs is still alive, there is, of course, a chance that he might join the force again. However, don't anticipate him to put away the fishing rod any time soon; according to executive producer Steven D. Binder, the show's writers are reserving that for a rare occasion, if ever. Binder said to TV Insider in May that "it's a card to play, and I don't think we want to play it cheaply." "I believe it definitely needs to be the proper thing when we do play it," said the player.
Gibbs' return from Alaska is not anticipated, but according to Binder, the club will keep mentioning the agent. Binder said, "It's going to take more than a year for that to evaporate. Gibbs placed his stamp on the team in a major way. "If I can't have Gibbs, I still appreciate having his presence in there," the speaker said. "I wouldn't want that to diminish."