Why Fans Are Worried NCIS Won't Survive Without Gibbs

Given the fact that "NCIS" has lasted for an impressive 19 seasons and nearly two decades, it makes sense that a few beloved characters have parted ways with the show over its long tenure on primetime television. Most recently, fans had to bid farewell to the show's main character, NCIS Supervisory Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs, portrayed by Mark Harmon. In October 2021, during an episode in the show's 19th season, Gibbs decided to stay in Alaska after finally finding peace following the death of his family, per USA Today.

As The Hollywood Reporter stated, rumors had been swirling about whether or not Harmon would be staying for the entire duration of the newest season prior to his exit. A statement from Steven D. Binder, the executive producer and showrunner for "NCIS," perhaps gave many fans hope that Gibbs would be returning to the show from time to time. "As an executive producer and dear friend, Mark continues to be an integral part of the fabric of the show," Binder said in a statement on Instagram. "Our north star has always been staying true to our characters, and that truth has always guided the stories we tell and where those characters go. So regarding the future of Gibbs, as long-time fans of the show may have noticed over the years...never count Leroy Jethro Gibbs out."

Though Harmon will continue to be involved in the show in some capacity as an executive producer and perhaps infrequent cast member, fans were still quite jarred when Gibbs officially left his "NCIS" job behind.

Fans are worried that Gibbs' exit could be the beginning of the end for NCIS

Over the years, "NCIS" has managed to survive after losing some of its most beloved characters, like Ziva David (portrayed by Cote de Pablo), Tony DiNozzo (portrayed by Michael Weatherly), and Abby Sciuto (portrayed by Pauley Perrette). As ScreenRant reported, the ratings for the show nosedived after each of these departures. What's more, other shows that said goodbye to their main characters, like "The Office" and "The Walking Dead," only survived a few more seasons before ending for good.

Many fans were quick to voice their disdain, and worry for "NCIS" as it moves forward without its central character. "I've seen every single episode. I've seen people come and go, from Kate, Ziva, Tony, Abby and even Bishop but NCIS is Gibbs. He goes, I go," a user tweeted, according to Good Housekeeping. "Does anyone believe NCIS can continue to have great ratings or even survive without Mark Harmon's Leroy Jethro Gibbs?" another Twitter user said, according to Showbiz CheatSheet.

Another fan referenced the fact that Gary Cole seems to be taking over Gibbs' role, and how "CSI" quickly ended after the departure of its main character, Gil Grissom, portrayed by William Petersen. "So the gist is that Mark Harmon will be on a reduced schedule like David McCallum and they hope [Gary] Cole will somehow fill the void," a user wrote on Reddit, per Showbiz CheatSheet. "I predict the upcoming season is the final season. Sadly, this is the downhill slide of the show just like 'CSI' once they phased Grissom out."