On Tuesday, NCIS aired episode 10 of season 18, and it was another tough one to watch. This season has already had several deaths and shocking twists — but could the next one involve the beloved and longtime team leader "Gibbs"?

Warning: Spoilers will follow!

NCIS season 18 episode 10 recap: "Gibbs" leaving?

In recent weeks, "Gibbs" has been going through a lot: first the goodbye to "Jack Sloane" and then the loss of "Emily," whose death from an overdose caused "Gibbs" to recall his own tragic past. "Emily" was the daughter of "Fornell" and she'd become like a foster daughter to "Gibbs" after he lost his own wife and daughter years ago.

Now, in Tuesday night's episode, "Gibbs" is grieving and tries to distract himself with work. The team has a new case after they find a wounded dog and are informed that many others have suffered similar injuries. Shortly afterwards, NCIS discovers more murdered dogs, drowned in a pond — and they have a first suspect.

When "Luke Stana" shows up at the crime scene, "Gibbs" loses his nerve and goes after the suspect. "Bishop" and the others find it difficult to tear him away from the alleged animal abuser. Ultimately, the agent is arrested for assault, while the team covers for "Gibbs" with a false statement that "Stana" fell on his own.

In the end, it turns out "Stana" is holding illegal dog fights in his barn. The arrested "Gibbs" negotiates a deal with "Coyle" to tell the truth if his team is not incriminated for the false statement. The animal abuser is ultimately arrested, but what about "Gibbs"? He's suspended indefinitely and has to surrender his gun and badge.

NCIS: Could Mark Harmon be exiting the series?

Could this be the beginning of the end for "Gibbs"? For NCIS fans, it's a concerning turn of events, as Mark Harmon's contract is due to expire after this season. It was previously reported that he was considering exiting but intends to stay on in a reduced role should the series get renewed for season 19 — which still hasn't happened yet.

So it could be that the series is preparing to slowly send "Gibbs" off. Hopefully we'll get closure in the coming weeks. The next episode, "Gut Punch," is three weeks away, airing on April 6.

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