Why Some Fans Are Hoping NCIS Ends After Season 19

"NCIS" has been on the air since 2003 and is the most watched drama on television, averaging 12.6 million viewers per episode (via Outsider). Its popularity is no doubt in good part to its cast, and while many actors have left the show through the years — including Michael Weatherly, Pauley Perrette, and Cote de Pablo — leading man Mark Harmon has been a mainstay since the first episode. That's why many viewers were disappointed to learn that Harmon would be in fewer episodes as the series enters its 19th season.

The 70-year-old had planned to leave the show entirely after Season 18, but when he discovered that the network would then cancel "NCIS," he agreed to sign on for another year, but under the condition that he would be appearing in a limited number of episodes (via The Hollywood Reporter). While neither Harmon or the producers would confirm anything, showrunner Steven D. Binder promised that Harmon's character, Gibbs, is still very much a part of "NCIS." "I'd say that a lot of things are reported on the show that aren't necessarily true," he told TV Line. "We are focusing right now on telling the best stories we can with the characters we have, and Gibbs is a part of that world, and I think we're doing a pretty good job with that."

However, it seems that some longtime fans aren't as convinced.

Many NCIS fans don't think the show can survive without Mark Harmon

Although Mark Harmon agreed to sign on for Season 19 of "NCIS," he will be appearing in a limited number of episodes — and fans aren't happy. In fact, some believe the show is better off being canceled if its leading man isn't back full-time.

"I don't think the current cast could carry the show with Gibbs being in a small number of episodes," wrote one viewer (via Daily Express).  "I don't ever want it to end, but it needs to. It needs to wrap it up before it's just a big joke," posted another fan, while someone else added, "I agree. Unless they have a stellar, amazing Season 19, it's time to cut it before it becomes a complete loss."

With Season 19 premiering in September 2021, it remains to be seen what kind of role Harmon will play in "NCIS," but showrunner Steven D. Binder revealed to TV Line that his character will be on the team again. "I will tell you that it's not necessarily in a form or shape you might have expected. It's not typical, but it will be something that is ultimately really enjoyed," said Binder.