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Is Mark Harmon set to leave NCIS at the end of season 18?

The actor who plays Gibbs has led the series since 2003

Mark Harmon has been keeping television fans entertained as the beloved Leroy Gibbs on hit drama NCIS for nearly two decades now.

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He is one of the longest-serving American TV stars, having appeared in every single episode of the show since 2003.

However, many viewers have been left wondering if he has any plans to leave the series following a string of exits this season. Find out everything you need to know about Mark's future on the show here…

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WATCH: NCIS star Mark Harmon opens up about his favourite memories on set

Rumours of the 69-year-old actor's exit began to swirl earlier this year when it was reported that the hit CBS show had not yet been renewed for a 19th season. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Mark's contract is up this year, meaning he has the choice to either sign on for more episodes or walk away.

While the actor has not yet confirmed what decision he made, sources say that he was made aware that CBS were likely to cancel the show if he wasn't on board, causing him to think twice about walking away.

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Mark, who also serves as an executive producer on the series, has reportedly now begun conversations with the network to return for a handful of episodes as long as they agree to renew the procedural for a 19th season.

It's not known how Mark's character Gibbs' stepping back will be written into the show. With ten out of the show's shortened run of 16 episodes down, fans could be in for a dramatic season finale.

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Could Mark be leaving the cast at the end of season 18?

As for what Mark himself has said about leaving the show, he has remained tight-lipped but did tell People in 2019: "I've always thought if there's ever a time where the writers are walking into the room and going 'I don't know what to do,' then I think we all have to look at each other and call it a day. But we're not there yet."

This year has seen several major changes to the NCIS franchise. While it was recently announced that NCIS: New Orleans would end with its current season, a brand new spin-off set in Hawaii is set to hit screens next year.

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