Having been on the air for nearly 20 years, NCIS continues to be one of the most popular procedurals on TV, if not sitting comfortably on the top of the list. However, in recent months, it’s been unclear if the CBS series would return for Season 19, as well as if Mark Harmon would stick around as Leroy Jethro Gibbs. Well, now we finally have our answers to both those questions.
NCIS has officially been renewed for Season 19, taking the show into the 2021-2022 TV season. Furthermore, CBS was able to lock Mark Harmon down for this next season. Apparently once he was informed that the network would likely end NCIS if he left, that prompted Harmon to return to negotiations. However, as THR noted, it hasn’t been revealed yet whether the actor will be back on NCIS full time or if the plan now is for him to only appear in a limited number of episodes, just like how David McCallum now participates on the series. There’s also no word yet on how many episodes NCIS Season 19 will have.
In any case, this at least gives us some word on Leroy Jethro Gibbs after months of speculation about what would go on with the character if the show were to be renewed for Season 19, which it obviously now has. A big part of Season 18's storyline has involved Gibbs' suspension. Couple that with the fact that Mark Harmon was up for a contract renewal and that was enough to launch the speculation it might be the end of the road for the character, at least in terms of show appearances. Thankfully for fans, it now seems that won't be the case.
Regardless of what ultimately happens with the character, it's exciting news for the show itself. Thanks to this latest renewal, NCIS is now closer to potential becoming the longest-running primetime series of all time. Currently Law & Order: Special Victims Unit holds the record at 22 seasons (and is also still airing), while Law & Order and Gunsmoke are tied for second place at 20 seasons. Mark Harmon has been playing Leroy Jethro Gibbs since the character debuted in the episode “Ice Queen” of NCIS’ parent series, JAG. He and David McCallum are the only two actors who’ve stuck around NCIS as main cast members since the very beginning.
NCIS’ renewal comes as the NCIS franchise as a whole is being shaken up a bit. NCIS: New Orleans is coming to a close next month after a seven-season run, and another spinoff series called NCIS: Hawaii is in the works--with exciting things for that spinoff being teased to boot. NCIS: Los Angeles is currently in its 12th season, but it hasn’t been announced yet if it’s also being renewed for the upcoming TV season.
For fans of the Eye Network as a whole, there's even more good news. It was also announced today that Blue Bloods, Magnum P.I., S.W.A.T. and Bull will return alongside NCIS next season. So if you are into some of the network's mainstays -- at least those not called MacGyver -- you'll be able to catch all your favorites when they return next fall. Of course, there's a whole chunk of weeks of TV still yet to air and we'll let you know as soon as spring finales are on the horizon for all your favorites. For now, you can see what's been axed with our full cancellation guide.