NCIS‘ “transition” year apparently is over.
Coming up on one year after Mark Harmon made his last on-camera appearance as team leader Leroy Jethro Gibbs, the new opening credits for NCIS‘ Season 20, which debuted Monday night, no longer feature the series vet.
Instead, Sean Murray, who plays McGee, is now the first cast member featured in the opening montage.
Also of note: Harmon in CBS press releases was listed among the series regulars for the season opener, but not for any episode beyond that.
Harmon reportedly was ready to hang up Gibbs’ cap after Season 18, but learned that if he did so, CBS might not renew NCIS. As such, he agreed to return in a limited capacity for Season 19, and wound up leaving four episodes in.
In that farewell episode, sidelined Special Agent Gibbs decided not to take back his badge, gun and job, but stay put in “the middle of nowhere,” in Alaska, where a multi-episode arc had led him. Even so, Harmon remained in the long-running drama’s opening credits for the remainder of Season 19.
CBS Entertainment president Kelly Kahl explained to TVLine back in May that Season 19 was a “transition” year for TV’s most-watched drama. But with an eye on Season 20, he suggested that removing Harmon from the opening credits was “something we might look at going forward.”
And as for when/if NCIS viewers might see Harmon on-screen again, Kahl said, “Everyone is aware that the door is open if he ever wants to pop in for an episode, or multiple episodes.”