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Mark Harmon to return as Gibbs in NCIS prequel series

The actor has teamed up with his son Sean Harmon to produce a new NCIS spin-off

NCIS star Mark Harmon talking
Megan Bull
TV Writer
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Mark Harmon will return as Leroy Jethro Gibbs in a new NCIS spin-off. Teaming up with his son, Sean Harmon, the duo have been given the green light on NCIS: Origins – a prequel series set in 1991. Following a young Gibbs as he embarks on a career at the NCIS Camp Pendleton office, the series will also trace the character's blossoming friendship with his mentor, Mike Franks. 

Mark Harmon and David McCallum on NCIS© CBS Photo Archive
Mark Harmon will reprise his role as Leroy Jethro Gibbs in NCIS: Origins

Following a similar format to Young Sheldon, Mark will reprise his iconic role as a narrator in the series. Meanwhile, his son, Sean Harmon – who previously portrayed a younger version of Gibbs in NCIS – will turn his attention to executive producing. 

With this in mind, casting will allow another actor to step into Gibbs' legendary shoes. 

Mark Harmon and Sean Murray in NCIS© CBS Photo Archive
The actor is set to narrate the spin-off

"The character of Gibbs has been an important part of my life for 20 years, both in watching my father craft the role and previously having the honor to play young Gibbs myself," Sean, 35, said. 

"I always felt there was a tale worth telling about his earlier years, so I am thrilled to be stepping into a producing role alongside [NCIS writers-producers] Gina [Lucita Monreal], David [J. North] and my dad as we tell this story and reveal a new side of this beloved character."

Slated for the 2024-25 broadcast season, it'll be a while until NCIS: Origins premieres, but showrunners, Gina Lucita Monreal and David J. North couldn't be more excited. "This really is the making of Leroy Jethro Gibbs," explained the duo. "And even the most dedicated NCIS fans will discover that they don't know the whole story."

Teasing what's to come, Amy Reisenbach, president of CBS Entertainment, added that the series will "build on the rich legacy of this character while reintroducing fan-favorite characters and meeting new ones."

Mark Harmon smiling© Picture Perfect/Shutterstock
Mark departed NCIS in 2021

Mark's return to the NCIS universe will come as a welcome surprise to fans. Back in 2021, the TV star marked the end of an era, after deciding to depart the naval drama, while staying on as a producer. 

In a special featurette on the show's season 19 DVD release, Mark addressed his exit. 

MORE: Michael Weatherly's life and career: From NCIS stardom to Mark Harmon feud and lawsuit drama

READ: NCIS star Brian Dietzen sparks major fan reaction with new season 21 photo

Explaining that the opportunity to tackle "fresh" and "challenging" material is what kept him returning to the drama every season, Mark alluded to the possibility that after almost two decades on the show, he no longer felt that was the case.

WATCH: NCIS: Leroy Gibbs says goodbye after 19 years

"What has always drawn me here is the character I play and to keep it fresh and to keep it challenging," he said, before clarifying that he believes his beloved character is "not retired". 

"Plot-wise, this character has taken the path that it did. I thought it was honest," added Mark.