NCIS Removes Mark Harmon’s Gibbs From Season 20 Intro

The following contains spoilers from NCIS Season 20, Episode 1, “A Family Matter,” which debuted Monday, Sept. 20 on CBS.

After months of waiting, broadcast TV networks are bringing back their popular franchises. NBC has premiered its Quantum Leap reboot, and although it needs to build on its source material, the series looks to be a success. ABC is poised to launch The Rookie and its new spinoff. But CBS’ NCIS always gets the most attention — moreso since it ended last season with some major changes.

Agent Parker had turned into the perfect replacement for Gibbs by the end of Season 19, but unfortunately, he had done it more ways than one. A villain called The Raven framed Parker for m****r, and his former bosses at the FBI were hot on his trail. The Season 20 premiere “A Family Matter” resolved that cliffhanger. But what NCIS viewers were more concerned about was a significant change in the show’s main titles.

NCIS viewers immediately noticed Season 20’s new set of opening credits. The sequence was filled with guns, explosions and clips from the previous season. However, Mark Harmon’s Agent Gibbs was finally removed from the titles. Instead, Sean Murray’s Timothy McGee held down the fort as the first agent in the sequence — a position that Murray deserves as the longest-tenured full-time cast member.

It made perfect sense that Gibbs would be removed from the opening credits because Harmon has moved on from NCIS. But it was still a gut punch for some fans, because even after Harmon exited in Season 19, Episode 4, “Great Wide Open,” the show chose to keep Mark Harmon in the opening credits as a way to pay homage to Gibbs’ character. Now, however, NCIS has officially moved on and started its new chapter.

Likewise, the premiere focused on the team’s commitment to Agent Parker. McGee and company stuck their necks out for him, just like they used to do for Gibbs. By the end of the episode, they had proved that Parker was innocent and that his ex-wife Vivian Kolchak wasn’t in on the scheme to frame him. Teri Polo has become a recurring cast member in Season 20, so Parker will develop a new, softer side as he gets reacquainted with his ex in future installments.

While Parker and his team are clearly the focus of Season 20, fans continue hold out hope for a Gibbs cameo. Back in May, CBS Entertainment president Kelly Kahl told TVLine, “Everyone is aware that the door is open if [Harmon] ever wants to pop in for an episode, or multiple episodes.” So, in theory, there’s always a chance that Gibbs will poke his head in at some point — but the series is moving forward by taking Harmon out of the credits, no matter how sad it is for viewers.

New episodes of NCIS air Monday at 9:00 p.m. on CBS.

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