Harmon, who originated his special agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs role on JAG in 2003, had been in talks to only appear in a handful of episodes if CBS renewed the procedural for a 19th season, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Harmon and CBS have now struck a deal to keep NCIS alive. "What remains unclear is whether Harmon will be back on NCIS full time," reports The Hollywood Reporter's Lesley Goldberg and James Hibberd. "One option that was being explored during negotiations was for Harmon to only appear in a limited number of episodes. What's also uncertain is how many episodes season 19 will consist of — the coronavirus pandemic resulted in a shortened 17th and 18th season, and it's unclear at this time if season 19 will be similarly affected. Whether this will be the show's final season is likewise not yet known. But the renewal edges NCIS closer to potentially becoming the longest-running U.S. primetime drama series of all time, with only Law & Order: SVU (22 seasons and counting), the original Law & Order (20 seasons) and Gunsmoke (20 seasons) having a more protracted run." NCIS is still a ratings powerhouse in its 18th season, averaging 12 million viewers per episode.