It's been a few months now since "Gibbs" (Mark Harmon) left the team at NCIS. Ever since, fans have been hoping for a comeback.
In this week's episode, which aired on Jan. 3, viewers didn't quite get a guest appearance from "Gibbs," but the former team leader was still part of the episode.
This is how "Gibbs" stays with NCIS
In the episode, it's revealed that "Palmer" (Brian Dietzen) and "McGee" (Sean Murray) received mysterious deposits of $10,000 in their accounts.
They don't know where the money is coming from, and the bank won't identify who paid the sum. At the end of the episode, we get clarity: "Vance" (Rocky Carroll) informs the two that the $10K came from none other than "Gibbs."
"Vance" reveals that the money is for their children's college education and that he also received money from the agent for his own kids. He explains the heart-warming reason behind the deposits:
"It's in memory of his daughter 'Kelly.' When she was young, he started a college fund. When she died, 'Gibbs' never closed the account. In fact, he kept adding to it. Since then, he's helped a lot of agents' families. Kids all going to college in 'Kelly's honour."
"Palmer" and "McGee" are touched and hope to personally thank "Gibbs." Unfortunately, that isn't possible. "Hopefully one day you will," replies "Vance," who like his colleagues misses "Gibbs."
The story on NCIS, which is now in season 19, only followed "Gibbs" after the death of his wife and daughter. But the two were often mentioned in the series — including now.
In October, "Gibbs" said goodbye to NCIS and his colleagues after many years of service. He chose to stay in Alaska, where he can enjoy the peace and quiet.
But a return for "Gibbs" hasn't been ruled out. As showrunner Steven Binder previously told TVLine: "Regarding the future of Gibbs… never count Leroy Jethro Gibbs out."
Star Mark Harmon continues to produce NCIS, though it appears his days as a leading actor are behind him.