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Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that the star and exec producer of the CBS franchise’s flagship series inked a one-year deal to return for season 19, during which he is slated to appear in a limited capacity.
To help offset Harmon’s reduced screen time, NCIS has enlisted Gary Cole (Veep) and Katrina Law (Hawaii Five-0) as series regulars. Details on Cole’s character are being kept under wraps. Law, who first appeared in the last two episodes of season 18, will continue to play Special Agent Jessica Knight. Sources caution that Cole’s character is not replacing Harmon’s.
“We haven’t shot a single frame quite yet, but with the addition of Gary Cole and Katrina Law to the cast, this is already shaping up to be one of the best seasons yet. Going into season 19, we are excited to have new characters and stories to tell that adds to and reenergizes the world we’ve come to love over the 400-plus episodes,” showrunner Steven D. Binder said in a statement Tuesday.
While CBS and producers CBS Studios have continued to decline comment on Harmon’s future with NCIS, the actor has been eyeing his exit from the series for the past few months. Sources told The Hollywood Reporter in February that Harmon was ready to move on from the role he originated on the CBS drama JAG back in 2003. Sources say when Harmon heard CBS would end the flagship series if he left, the star and exec producer of TV’s most watched drama began conversations with the network and studio to return for a handful of episodes in season 19.
Harmon’s possible departure was set up in the season 18 finale, in which his character, Gibbs, was seemingly killed off when his boat exploded, though the door remained open for his survival. (Remember, unless you see the body, nobody is really dead on TV.) Season 18 also featured the exit of Emily Wickersham, who had been with the series since its 11th cycle.
As for the future of NCIS, it’s unclear how many episodes season 19 will consist of — the novel coronavirus pandemic resulted in shortened 17th and 18th seasons. Whether this will be the show’s final season is yet to be determined.
NCIS will move from its Tuesday perch to Mondays at 9 p.m. in the fall, where it will serve as a lead-in for the fourth show in the franchise, Hawai’i. NCIS: Los Angeles will return for its 13th season in 2021-22, while NCIS: New Orleans wrapped earlier this year after seven seasons.
Cole and Law join fellow NCIS series regulars Harmon, Sean Murray, Wilmer Valderrama, Brian Dietzen, Diona Reasonover, Rocky Carroll and David McCallum. Binder, Chas. Floyd Johnson, Mark Horowitz, Harmon, Scott Williams, David North and Donald P. Bellisario exec produce.
Cole (The West Wing, The Good Wife, Entourage) is repped by Gersh and Envoy Entertainment. Law (Training Day, Arrow) is with Innovative Artists Agency and Joel Stevens Entertainment.
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