Why Mark Harmon Isn’t Appearing in the ‘NCIS’ Gibbs Prequel Series

Special Agent Gibbs, famously portrayed by Mark Harmon, may have stepped back from the frontline of the “NCIS” series, yet the character’s legacy will be further explored in the anticipated prequel, “NCIS: Origins.” This new series takes viewers back to Gibbs’ earlier years, featuring Austin Stowell as a young Gibbs, while Harmon lends his voice for narration. The question of whether Harmon will physically appear in “NCIS: Origins” remains a topic of curiosity among fans.

In a discussion with Deadline, CBS Studios President David Stapf and CBS Entertainment President Amy Reisenbach shared insights on the future of “NCIS,” including the possibility of Harmon’s on-screen return in “NCIS: Origins.” Reisenbach mentioned that while flash-forwards haven’t been considered a fit for the show’s current direction, the door isn’t closed to creative explorations in later seasons that could possibly involve Harmon more directly.

The introduction of a new Gibbs persona in “NCIS: Origins” presents a creative challenge. Harmon’s potential involvement would need to enrich the storyline beyond a mere nod to fans. Although he is set to narrate, integrating him on-screen would require a thoughtful narrative justification.

As “NCIS: Origins” is poised for a late 2024 or early 2025 premiere, viewers might temper expectations for Harmon’s immediate physical reappearance. The focus appears to be on allowing the spin-off to carve out its unique identity, with Harmon’s role initially confined to narration. However, the possibility of Harmon’s return to the main “NCIS” series remains open, with Reisenbach affirming that “The door for Mark is always open.”

Despite Harmon’s current absence from the camera’s front in the NCIS universe, his involvement in “NCIS: Origins” has been pivotal. David Stapf highlighted Harmon’s and his son Sean Harmon’s significant contribution to conceptualizing the prequel, noting Sean’s prior portrayal of a younger Gibbs on “NCIS.”

Whether or not fans witness Harmon on “NCIS” again, his influence within the franchise remains profound. His dual role as an executive producer on “NCIS” and a narrator for “NCIS: Origins” ensures his enduring impact on the series’ direction and legacy.