NCIS teases huge change for season 20 - and fans will not be happy

We're not sure how we feel about this...

NCIS wrapped up its 19th season this week, and we're already counting down the days until its back on our screens!

MORE: Michael Weatherly sparks mass reaction after reuniting with NCIS co-star

However, it seems that viewers can expect a major change when the drama makes its return for season 20 later this year - and it's sure to upset fans who have been hoping to see more of the show's former lead star, Mark Harmon.

Loading the player...

WATCH: See NCIS star Mark Harmon's emotional goodbye as Gibbs

While the 70-year-old actor - who ended his 19-year run as the drama's lead last year - remained in the show's opening credits throughout all of season 19, it seems that will not be the case for the upcoming season.

MORE: Chicago Fire, The Rookie and Grey's Anatomy: What shows have the networks renewed or canceled?

MORE: NCIS stars' children: Mark Harmon, LL Cool J, Wilmer Valderrama and more

Speaking to TV Line, CBS Entertainment president Kelly Kahl explained that season 19 was a "transition" year (it did, after all, begin with Gibbs still helming the NCIS team), and so that's why they decided to keep his mention in the credits throughout the whole season's run.

Mark Harmon ended his 18-year run as the drama's lead last year

"That's something we might look at going forward," he added, implying that Mark may well find himself removed from the credits for the new episodes that air in the fall.

Elsewhere in the chat, the question of Mark reprising his role anytime soon was also brought up, and Kelly gave a disappointing answer. Although Mark has no plans to return right now, "everyone is aware that the door is open if he ever wants to pop in for an episode, or multiple episodes," he said.

Season 20 will air later this year

Mark's inclusion in the credits kept hope alive among fans that he could still return after his character decided to retire from law enforcement back at the beginning of season 19.

MORE: Wilmer Valderrama shares cryptic post with fans amid NCIS exit rumours

Following his exit, Gary Cole was introduced as former FBI agent Alden Parker who took over the reins as the Special Agent in charge of the team.

At the time, showrunner Steve Binder released a statement that heavily suggested Gibbs was not gone for good. He said that not only does Mark "continue to be an integral part of the fabric of the show," due to his off-screen role as an executive producer, but that viewers should "never count Leroy Jethro Gibbs out".

Read more HELLO! US stories here

Like this story? Sign up to our What to Watch newsletter to get other stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.

You're on HELLO!'s global site. Click to return to HELLO! India Go back