While Mark Harmon left NCIS at the beginning of Season 19, fans may still have a hard time getting used to it. Leroy Jethro Gibbs was such a big part of the series for 19 seasons and a father figure to the agents, so he made quite an impact on the long-running procedural. Even though there were other A-listers up for the role of Gibbs, Harmon won everyone over. However, at one point, the actor nearly dropped out of the show because of a possible name change.
Leroy Jethro Gibbs is definitely an interesting name, and now an iconic one. Harmon told ET that when the show was still in development, he not only loved the script but his character’s name. Unfortunately, it almost didn’t stick:
On NCIS, it was explained how Gibbs was named after his father’s close friend and World War II veteran Jethro “LJ” Moore. With a backstory like that and even an episode centering on LJ, it’s hard to imagine that another name was in mind when the series was still in development. Harmon recalled how he fought with the show’s creator about the name, and obviously, he won: