Earlier this year, NCIS star Mark Harmon ended his 18-year run as the drama's lead and ever since then, fans have been desperate to see him return to the show.
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And now, it seems that it could be happening, and sooner than they initially expected! After a new episode aired this week, fans took to social media to discuss the fact that the actor still appears in the show's opening credits.
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"Gibbs is still in the opening credits…which means I don't believe he has left the series completely… he'll come back at some point." one fan speculated.
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Another was left thinking along the same lines and wrote: "Hm... I don't think Gibbs is completely out of NCIS UNTIL they change the intro," and a third theorised: "Mark Harmon will come back for an ep sometime this season I bet. He's still in the opening credits and does the 'Stay tuned…'. Also, he's left and come back multiple times #NCIS."
It seems that fans may be on to something as there does seem to be a chance that viewers will see him return for the odd episode in the future.
Mark headed up the show for 18 years as Special Agent Gibbs
Showrunner Steve Binder released a statement following Mark's onscreen departure that heavily suggested Gibbs could make a comeback. It read: "As an executive producer and dear friend, Mark continues to be an integral part of the fabric of the show. 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."
Gary Cole has joined the show as Mark's replacement
Following Mark's exit Gary Cole, who was introduced at the beginning of season 19 as former FBI agent Alden Parker, took over the reins as the Special Agent in charge of the team. In a recent interview with TV Line, the former Chicago PD and Scandal star revealed that he was "not trying to be" exactly like Gibbs.
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He said: "Part of my job description is to get comfortable, whatever that takes. I'm not trying to be [Gibbs]. The writers made that distinction."
"Parker isn't overly chatty, but he is more verbal. He's not as old school; he tries to get his hands on new tech gadgets and impress everybody," he continued. "He's trying to fit in with the rest of the team. Although he may be reluctant to voice it, he admires that Gibbs breaks rules. Parker bends them. We'll see if it gets to the point of breaking."
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