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Mark Harmon leaves 'NCIS,' but producer says never count Gibbs out

Mark Harmon as NCIS Special Agent Leroy Jethro

Mark Harmon as NCIS Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs appears in a scene from the Oct. 11 episode where he said goodbye.   Credit: CBS / Cliff Lipson

Mark Harmon has quietly exited his founding role on the long-running military-police procedural "NCIS."

On Monday's episode of the CBS series, Harmon's NCIS Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs headed to Alaska with fellow agent Timothy McGee (Sean Murray) on a murder case, and afterward said he has found peace there and planned to stay. Shortly afterward, Steven D. Binder, the showrunner and an executive producer of the series, now in its 19th season, posted on the show's social media, "As an executive producer and dear friend, Mark continues to be an integral part of the fabric of the show. 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."

Harmon, 70, a two-time Emmy nominee for other productions, has no evident social media accounts and has not commented publicly. CBS press materials continue to list Harmon in the credits of the two subsequent episodes announced so far.

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