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NCIS season 19 will see Agent Gibbs (played by Mark Harmon) return once again but this time he won't be leading the series. In a disappointing move for fans, Harmon has been confirmed to only appear in a handful of episodes of the CBS series. Now some fear this is a sign of the character's impending death.
Is Agent Gibbs going to die in NCIS season 19?
Speculation is running wild over the next season of NCIS, with various details potentially pointing to the death of the beloved Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs.
As the series lead since the show's premiere in 2003, for many viewers Gibbs is NCIS and his possible departure would be devastating to the show.
NCIS boss shares an update on Mark Harmon's status for season 19
What's going on with Gibbs?NCIS boss Steven D Binder has updated fans on the status of leading star Mark Harmon.
It was reported back in May star Mark Harmon was looking to leave the show, something CBS didn't want to happen.
A deal was made for Harmon to appear in a handful of episodes, but it isn't clear how his role will influence the story of season 19.
© GETTY NCIS 1 © GETTY NCIS 2
The events of season 18 haven't helped the speculation either, with Gibbs in a more difficult spot than ever.
In the last season, Gibbs was suspended for assaulting a man that abused dogs, putting his future on the NCIS team at risk.
Following this, he took his boat, named Rule 91, out on the water during the finale, leading to a catastrophic outcome.
Gibbs' boat exploded, with many fearing the worst for the NCIS veteran. © GETTY NCIS 3
Luckily, the last shot viewers saw of Gibbs was him swimming away from the explosion, confirming he survived and is unharmed.
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Now it is confirmed Harmon will not be the lead in the next season, it opens the door to a potential exit.
This was also echoed by CBS Entertainment boss Kelly Kahl, hinting they too are unsure about the ongoing future with Harmon.
Khal explained: "We take it year by year with Mark, we'd love to have him as long as he'd like to be here.
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"Even in this past season, he might have been light in a couple of [episodes], so we're happy to work around his schedule."
Clearly CBS are keen to keep Harmon in the series for as long as he wants to be involved, meaning it is less likely they will decide to kill off the character.
Even if Gibbs does leave the show, a more likely scenario would be he simply retires or moves away from the rest of the team.
This would allow CBS to bring him back in the form of cameos and recurring appearances, if Harmon wanted to do that.
What is known about season 19 is the cast is undergoing a few crucial changes, namely the introduction of Special Agent Alden Park (Gary Cole).
This FBI agent will be stepping in as a new veteran officer, but CBS has stressed he will not be a replacement for Gibbs.
Jessica Knight (Katrina Law) will also be returning after making her debut at the end of season 18.
She will likely be stepping in the shoes left by Ellie Bishop (Emily Wickersham) who did officially leave the series during the 18th season's finale.
While Gibbs' future hangs in the balance, fans can rest assured he will be regularly appearing in season 19.
NCIS season 19 will premiere on September 20 on CBS in the USA. A UK release date has not been confirmed.
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