Gibbs’ Absence In NCIS Season 21 Ducky Tribute Episode Candidly Explained By Co-Showrunner

By Grant Hermanns Published 1 day ago

Co-showrunner Steven D. Binder candidly explains why Mark Harmon’s Gibbs was absence in NCIS season 21’s Ducky tribute episode and his future.

Gibbs' Absence In NCIS Season 21 Ducky Tribute Episode Candidly Explained By Co-Showrunner

Warning: SPOILERS lie ahead for NCIS season 21, episode 2, "The Stories We Leave Behind"!



  • Co-showrunner Steven D. Binder explains Gibbs' absence in NCIS season 21's Ducky tribute episode.
  • Binder shares insights on the decision process behind bringing back original characters like Anthony DiNozzo for the episode.
  • The goal was to create a special appearance for Gibbs, considering budget, scheduling, and the connection with Brian Dietzen's Jimmy and Michael Weatherly's character.

While one other original character made their triumphant return to the show, co-showrunner Steven D. Binder opens up about Gibbs' absence in NCIS season 21's Ducky tribute episode. After playing the series regular role of Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard across the first 20 seasons of the crime procedural, David McCallum died at the age of 90, leaving his character's future briefly uncertain. Season 21, episode 2, entitled "The Stories We Leave Behind", served as a tribute to the late star, revealing that Ducky died in his sleep and finding the team mourning his passing, namely Brian Dietzen's Jimmy Palmer.

On the heels of the episode's premiere, TVLine spoke with Steven D. Binder to break down the Ducky tribute episode in NCIS season 21. When asked about the decision process behind bringing back original characters, including Michael Weatherly's Anthony DiNozzo, the co-showrunner shared his candid thoughts on why Mark Harmon's Gibbs didn't return for the episode, wanting to hold off on bringing him back for a more "special" appearance, while also noting budget and scheduling restraints. Check out what Binder shared below:

In a perfect world, what we first imagined was what the Marvel Cinematic Universe did when Tony Stark died…. Our original thought was, "Can we get everybody?" We gave a lot of thought to who Ducky is connected to most, which on one level would be Gibbs. But it was Jimmy who was there, so it was [about] who Jimmy would connect with, and also bring some levity… and that was Michael Weatherly. It’s really a no-brainer. Of course, the door is always open. When we bring him back, we’re not going to bring him back for two minutes. It’s got to be something special.

New episodes of NCIS season 21, including "The Stories We Leave Behind", are available to stream on Paramount+.

Why Gibbs' Absence Was Actually Right For NCIS' Ducky Tribute


Binder's comments largely echo that of Dietzen's, who made his third writing stint on the show with NCIS' Ducky tribute episode, having previously co-written episodes with fellow show veteran Scott Williams. The key point of agreement between Dietzen and Binder was the fact that the decision to bring back DiNozzo over Gibbs made more emotional sense for Jimmy's grieving versus that of a general mourning for Ducky, considering the closer connection Jimmy shared with Weatherly's character. Check out what Dietzen previously explained below:

We ended up deciding on having the character of Tony come back. It all made a lot of sense. This character, in addition to being close with Ducky, was Jimmy’s good friend, so when he comes to visit, it is to help the person who’s left behind. It’s really to be there for his friend. Getting [Michael] out here and doing all this stuff under the cover of secrecy and the dead of night sort of thing was really cool.

While some may argue that Gibbs should have still appeared in some capacity in the episode, the decision not to bring him back was ultimately the better choice for NCIS' Ducky tribute. The former star and executive producer's exit was one of the biggest changes to the show's cast thus far, with his season 19 farewell episode delivering an effectively emotional finale for the iconic character. As understandable as it would've been for Gibbs to want to return to his former life to say goodbye to a close friend, it would've risked undermining his fitting ending.

Though he may have been absent from the Ducky tribute, Harmon still has a future in the NCIS franchise. Beyond Binder's openness to bringing Gibbs back for a future mainline show return, Harmon is currently helping develop a Gibbs-focused prequel alongside his son Sean, who previously played a younger version of the character. Given DiNozzo's return was celebrated by longtime fans of the show, it will be interesting to see if they can find an equally meaningful way for Harmon to come back in the mainline NCIS.

Source: TVLine

Cast sean murray , Wilmer Valderrama , Katrina Law , Brian Dietzen , david mccallum , Mark Harmon , Rocky Carroll , Gary Cole , Joe Spano Release Date September 23, 2003 Seasons 21 Network CBS Streaming Service(s) Paramount+ Franchise(s) NCIS Writers Donald P. Bellisario Showrunner Donald P. Bellisario Where To Watch Paramount+

Понравилась статья? Поделиться с друзьями:
Добавить комментарий

;-) :| :x :twisted: :smile: :shock: :sad: :roll: :razz: :oops: :o :mrgreen: :lol: :idea: :grin: :evil: :cry: :cool: :arrow: :???: :?: :!: