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NCIS season 19 release date speculation, cast, episodes and latest news

NCIS season 19
(Image credit: CBS Photo Archive / Getty)

Rumors ran rampant about if NCIS season 19 would happen, and if it would have Leroy Jethro Gibbs. And while we're now sure he's coming back, speculation has turned to wondering how much he'll be around. The show seems to be changing in big ways, as it's even shifting to a new night. That said, yes, the long-running CBS series' renewal has raised a lot of questions about how much longer it will be on the air, and when it will join the list of canceled TV shows.

And the big news about the series concerns the return of star Mark Harmon, whose participation seemed to be the end-all, be-all for CBS. This allows NCIS to get another season — and chance to catch up with Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, the longest-running primetime show of all time (with 22 seasons), though it's still on air.

NCIS season 19 latest news (updated June 10)

  • The chaotic events of the NCIS season 18 finale give the show reason to give Gibbs less screen time.
  • On April 15, NCIS season 19 was confirmed to return for another season.
  • Series star Mark Harmon is confirmed to return, ending rumors of his departure.

NCIS season 19 release date speculation

No word on this yet, but we'd be pleasantly surprised if NCIS season 19 was a part of the 2021–22 CBS lineup. 

With the exception of its original and most recent seasons, NCIS has always debuted  in mid-to-late September. That said, delays connected to the Covid-19 pandemic's ripple effect, and the negotiations for season 19 could lead them to push later in the year (2020's debut was in November). We haven't heard if production has started yet, so a September turnaround would be admittedly pretty efficient for the team. 

In its announcement of NCIS' return, CBS also confirmed that Blue Bloods, S.W.A.T., Bull and Magnum P.I. are all coming back as well. 

NCIS season 19 new date and time slot

In huge news for CBS, NCIS is leaving its 8 p.m. Tuesday time slot, and moving to 9 p.m. on Mondays. This is seen as a dramatic change for the Eye-network, as NCIS was in that previous slot for 18 years.

NCIS season 19 cast

Mark Harmon is one of four characters you can expect to return for NCIS season 19. And Harmon may follow the form of David McCallum (Dr. Donald 'Ducky' Mallard), who had a decreased presence in the previous seasons — and is expected back for more. 

Timothy McGee (Sean Murray) and Katrina Law (Jessica Knight) are expected back as well. Wilmer Valderrama (Nick Torres) is also likely to return for NCIS season 19.

The big question concerning NCIS season 19 now, though, is if Ellie Bishop (Emily Wickersham) will ever return. The NCIS season 18 finale made us think she won't.

NCIS season 19 episodes

While most NCIS seasons had a full 24-episode order, seasons 17 and 18 had shortened runs (20 and 11 episodes, respectively) due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Since the season is yet to begin production, and we're so early into the NCIS season 19 news, we can't say whether or not the show will be at full capacity.

NCIS season 19 final season rumors

As we'll note below, NCIS season 19 hinged on whether or not Mark Harmon wanted to come back. The actor was reportedly looking to leave the series, and the NCIS season 18 finale gives the series the opportunity to reduce his role going forward.

So, if we get less Gibbs in season 19, as a sign that Harmon is winding up his time on the show, don't bet on NCIS season 20. 

NCIS season 19: Mark Harmon returning

The big story of Mark Harmon's return to NCIS the series starts in February, when The Hollywood Reporter published a story revealing Harmon was considering hanging up the role of Leroy Jethro Gibbs. 

The outlet later reported that NCIS would likely be cancelled altogether if Harmon retired. This brought the actor back to the table. 

NCIS season 18 ended with Gibbs saying farewell to Eleanor Bishop, and then making a swift dive underwater after his boat was blown up. If Gibbs is now in hiding — to make the serial killer that he's hunting think Gibbs is actually dead — we could see a lot less of Mark Harmon this season.