NCIS Just Gave Gibbs The Perfect Legacy After Mark Harmon's Exit

The hit CBS series NCIS has given Gibbs the perfect legacy after Mark Harmon's exit. Having portrayed the taciturn special agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs for more than 18 seasons and 400 episodes, Harmon finally left the show following the season 19 episode "Great Wide Open", which sees the beloved NCIS agent finally find peace in retirement in Alaska. Some audiences assumed that Gibbs' exit from NCIS meant they'd seen and heard the last of him until a later episode created the ideal callback to his character.

In NCIS season 19, episode 10, Special Agent Timothy McGee (Sean Murray) and Jimmy Palmer (Brian Dietzen) receive mysterious deposits of $10,000. Given their line of work, the two are naturally suspicious until the end of the episode when Director Leon Vance (Rocky Carroll) calls them into his office to explain. He informs McGee and Palmer that they are the latest recipients of the Leroy Jethro Gibbs Scholarship Fund, a trust initially set up for Gibbs' own daughter before she tragically died, and which he has grown over the years to aid numerous agents' families including Vance's own children.

Related: NCIS: Why Lauren Holly Left The Hit Show

This fund is the perfect legacy for Mark Harmon's Gibbs in NCIS because it further contributes to the character's closure following his exit from the show. It's also incredibly fitting for Gibbs, who always maintained a modest lifestyle despite likely earning good money by the end of his long tenure at the agency. Gibbs has become known over the years for silently helping those he cares for, providing exactly what they need without saying a word, and this scholarship fund is a flawless final hoorah to the legendary character.

Gibbs has struggled with a lot over the years, but one of his greatest hurdles has always been his tragic backstory. Gibb's wife and daughter were murdered by the head of a cartel whom they witnessed committing a crime, and this has served as perhaps the most influential event for molding his character. Gibbs joined NCIS after their shock deaths, and a string of failed marriages shows that the agency filled the hole left by his family more than anything else could. It's therefore fitting that the money which would have gone to his own daughter's college fund can now be distributed amongst his surrogate family at NCIS.

The move is also perfectly characteristic of classic Agent Gibbs. A humble man who never appears at ceremonies to accept his own commendations, Gibbs became known for helping others with no expectation of praise or recognition. In fact, he commonly rejects such plaudits, believing that his actions are simply the right thing to do. Awarding the scholarship money to two of his closest colleagues after he has retired to Alaska serves as the epitome of the selfless generosity cultivated by Mark Harmon's Gibbs throughout his NCIS tenure.

The Leroy Jethro Gibbs Scholarship Fund is the perfect legacy for Harmon's character, but the episode also leaves room for hope that he could return to the show. The final scene sees Palmer wishing he could thank Gibbs in person, to which Director Vance smiles and replies, "Well, hopefully, one day you will." It wouldn't be the first time the show has briefly brought back characters, but it's unclear how meaningful the statement actually is. Whether he returns to the show or not, Mark Harmon's Gibbs will not soon be forgotten by the captive followers of NCIS.

Next: NCIS: Did Ziva & Tony Reunite After She Faked Her Death?



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