Mark Harmon Shock: Gary Cole 'Desperate' To Fill NCIS Veteran's Shoes? Executive Producer Shares Heartbreaking Detail About Leroy Jethro Gibbs' Fate

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Mark Harmon broke the hearts of many fans when he first announced his decision to turn over his badge as Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs in the long-running American police procedural television series after nearly two decades.

The veteran actor, who played the role since the show premiered in 2003, bid goodbye to his longtime workplace in NCIS Season 19 Episode 4, titled “Great Wide Open.”

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The character of Mark Harmon decided to retire after solving a case in Alaska, together with Special Agent Timothy McGee (Sean Murray).

In June, it was claimed that Mark had been ready to exit NCIS ahead of its 19th installment, but signed a one-year contract with the show to appear in its latest season in “limited capacity.”

Now, a new report suggests that Gary Cole is unlikely to succeed in his bid to replace Mark Harmon in NCIS amid his reportedly backbiting castmates and disappointed fans. Keep on reading to know more details.

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Is Gary Cole Trying To Replace Mark Harmon In NCIS?

National Enquirer, in its upcoming May 30, 2022 issue, reported that Gary Cole has been trying hard to win the hearts of his co-actors and the devoted followers of the NCIS series. However, insiders told the entertainment news publication that the American television actor is not, at all, succeeding in his alleged attempt to replace Mark Harmon.

An unnamed source claimed:

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“Gary’s been desperate to fill Mark’s shoes and fit in with the other series regular, and it’s kind of pitiful. On set, he tries to impress everyone by doing voices from the animated series he’s done. He brings puzzles to share, and people are bracing for more annoying behavior even before season 20 gets underway.”

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Most, if not all, fans are aware that Gary Cole joined the American drama series last fall when Mark Harmon left after nearly 20 years as Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs to spend more time with his family. Mark has remained on board as an executive producer while Gary’s Alden Parker was put in charge of the crime-fighting crew.

However, informants close to the situation suggested that Gary Cole is still scrambling to connect with his onscreen team, saying:

“Now that the show’s gone on hiatus, he’s still texting and calling co-stars to tell jokes and stories and suggest get-togethers. It just comes off as desperate. Gary’s trying to win over fans, too, by publicly saying he’s not trying to replace Mark. But the fact remains they don’t like him as much as Mark. Some fans are hoping Mark will come back, and there’s certainly a door left open for that to happen if Mark changes his mind.”

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“Basically, people snicker Gary’s a man’s version of Mark, and he doesn’t do himself any favors with his presumptuous attitude.”

Both Mark Harmon and Gary Cole have yet to comment on these reports. So, avid followers of the NCISstars should take all these unverified reports with a huge grain of salt until everything is proven true and correct.

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Will Mark Harmon Return In NCIS Season 20?

Meanwhile, series executive producer Steven D. Binder revealed there are not any plans to bring back Mark Harmon in NCIS just yet, even if the show’s intro still features the actor’s character. In an interview with TV Insider, Binder said:

"There's always head space for him to come back. It just has to be the right story, I think, to get him excited about it and to get us excited about it."

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Steven D. Binder acknowledged that the decision of Mark Harmon’s character was not as permanent as death. However, he explained it is not reason enough to bring back the character in the upcoming NCIS Season 20, stating:

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"It's a card to play, and I don't think we want to play it cheaply. I think when we do play it, it really needs to be the right thing."

While there is an option to bring the character of Mark Harmon through letters or emails, Steven does not think it is fitting for Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs, who is a “magical being” unmarred by the passage of time.

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He said:

"I don't want to think of Gibbs in an apartment or in another house or with another woman. I almost don't want to think of him that way. I saw him in a river, happy, which I never see him as, smiling with a knife in his pocket and fish in the boat. That's how I imagine him, and that's how I want to keep imagining him."

Of Mark Harmon’s well-loved character, Steven D. Binder added:

"Gibbs put his stamp on the team in a huge way, and it's gonna take more than a year for that to fade."
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NCIS Season 20 is set to premiere on CBS this fall.

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Stay tuned to EpicStream for the latest news and updates about Mark Harmon!