Home Celebrity CBS Orders ‘NCIS’ Prequel, Mark Harmon to Return

CBS Orders ‘NCIS’ Prequel, Mark Harmon to Return

CBS Orders ‘NCIS’ Prequel, Mark Harmon to Return

NCIS Prequel Series Ordered at CBS—But Will Mark Harmon Return
Cliff Lipson/CBS

Mark Harmon fans rejoice, because the NCIS universe is expanding once again, and the actor will have an active role in the new show.

CBS announced on Friday, January 7, that the NCIS prequel series NCIS: Origins has been ordered as part of the 2024-2025 broadcast season. The show will begin in 1991 and follow the life of a young Leroy Jethro Gibbs, the character that Harmon, 72, originated in 2003.

The prequel will take viewers along with Gibbs as he “starts his career as a newly minted special agent at the fledgling NCIS Camp Pendleton office where he forges his place on a gritty, ragtag team led by NCIS legend Mike Franks,” per the official logline.

While Harmon will not play young Gibbs, the network confirmed that he will narrate the series. The actor will also serve as an executive producer on the project alongside his eldest son, Sean Harmon.

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“We are elated and honored to continue the expansion of the NCIS universe in such a unique and unexpected way,” CBS Entertainment president Amy Reisenbach said in a press release. “Viewers can look forward to Mark Harmon returning to CBS to narrate the complex and mysterious backstory of Leroy Jethro Gibbs’ early years in NCIS: Origins, which will build on the rich legacy of this character while reintroducing fan-favorite characters and meeting new ones.”

Mark and Sean, 35, were integral parts in bringing the concept for the latest NCIS story to life. They will work in tandem with fellow executive producers and co-showrunners Gina Lucita Monreal and David J. North.

“The character of Gibbs has been an important part of my life for 20 years, both in watching my father craft the role and previously having the honor to play young Gibbs myself,” Sean said in a statement. “I always felt there was a tale worth telling about his earlier years, so I am thrilled to be stepping into a producing role alongside Gina, David and my dad as we tell this story and reveal a new side of this beloved character.”

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Mark made his NCIS debut as Gibbs in 2003. He remained the lead on the drama for 18 years until he exited the series in 2021. His final appearance was on season 19’s “Great Wide Open” episode when Gibbs symbolically passed the torch to Timothy McGee (Sean Murray) by choosing to stay in Alaska and not return to Washington, D.C.

“What has always drawn me here is the character I play and to keep it fresh and to keep it challenging,” Mark said about his departure in an August 2022 interview featured in the season 19 DVD release, per Entertainment Tonight. “Plot-wise, this character has taken the path that it did.”

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He reassured fans at the time that Agent Gibbs was still present in the NCIS universe. “I’m not retired,” Mark explained. “The character is living in Alaska as far as I know.”

While NCIS is the most iconic entry in the franchise, it was actually a spinoff of JAG, which debuted on NBC in 1995. The naval drama introduced fans to Gibbs during the season 8 finale in 2003.

NCIS has since inspired many successful spinoffs, including NCIS: Los Angeles and NCIS: New Orleans, which are no longer on the air. NCIS: Hawai’i premiered in September 2021, and NCIS: Sydney began airing in the U.S. in November 2023.