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NCIS season 19: Mark Harmon reportedly only making "a few" appearances

NCIS season 19 to have less Mark Harmon
(Image credit: CBS Photo Archive / Getty)

Yes, at least two of the NCIS season 19 rumors appear to be true. And that means Gibbs fans have reason to be disappointed. A new report gives fairly strong confirmation that the upcoming season of the long-running CBS drama will feature a lot less of Mark Harmon's character.

TVLine's Michael Ausiello (a reliable reporter) credits multiple sources with the claim that "Harmon is slated to appear in a relatively small number of episodes next season." Individual sources claimed that the episode count is supposedly in the "in the low single digits," and that Gibbs will make only "a few" appearances this season. So how NCIS going to make up for that?

Deadline reports that Gary Gole (Veep, The Good Fight, Office Space) has indeed been added to the show, after previous rumors suggested he was only in talks. Cole will play FBI Special Agent Alden Park, and details are not available about the character are not available.

While no official announcement has been made about Harmon appearing less in the series, Deadline speaks of that change as if it's a sure thing, noting "Cole is expected to help fill the void left by Harmon’s reduced on-screen presence next season." 

Cole's not the only new regular cast member for the series. Katrina Law, who plays Special Agent Jessica Knight, is now going to be a series regular. Knight was introduced in NCIS in the final two episodes of NCIS season 18, and the character specializes in hostage negotiations.

NCIS season 19 has a reason for less Gibbs

For those who don't recall, Leroy Jethro Gibbs was hunting a serial killer the last time we saw him. And in the NCIS season 18 finale, someone (possibly said serial killer) attempted to murder Gibbs by blowing up his boat, while he was on it.

That led to Gibbs floating to the surface, without signs of life, before quickly escaping without anyone noticing him. That ending gave fans reason to believe that NCIS was ready for Harmon to leave the series, as he was ready to do. 

The explosion, and Gibbs' stealthy retreat, gives him the chance to spend this next season in hiding, letting the serial killer think he's actually dead. Only time will tell, though, if it was the killer who blew up the boat or if Gibbs intentionally faked his own death to get more cover.

Either way, NCIS has created a good reason for Gibbs to not appear much in this upcoming season. One will wonder how much his team will know about his current status, and if they start the next season mourning him.

Henry T. Casey

Henry is a senior editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past six-plus years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.