NCIS star Mark Harmon almost missed out on the role of Gibbs to this huge Hollywood name

Mark Harmon kept television fans entertained as the beloved Leroy Jethro Gibbs on hit drama NCIS for nearly two decades before deciding to bow out of the series.

MORE: Where is former NCIS star Mark Harmon now?

He appeared in every single episode of the show up until season 19’s fourth episode, which saw his character decide to hang up his gear for good, making him one of the longest-serving American TV stars. However, it turns out that CBS came close to casting someone else in the role. Want to know more? Keep reading…

WATCH: NCIS’  Mark Harmon says goodbye as Leroy Gibbs after 19 years

While it’s hard to imagine anyone else in the iconic role, according to reports, the casting directors came close to going with another actor for the main role in the JAG spinoff, which launched back in 2003.

MORE: Where are the stars who left NCIS now?

MORE: Take a look back at NCIS star Mark Harmon’s early career – he looks so different!

On the IMDb trivia section of the long-running naval drama, it claims that Star Wars and Indiana Jones star Harrison Ford was on the shortlist to take on the role.

Mark ended his 18-year run as the show’s lead in 2021

While it is not known how far into the audition process the then 61-year-old actor got, it is said that he was experiencing a bit of a career slump around the time of the series’s conception and so was urged by colleagues to pursue the part.

However, for whatever reason Harrison decided not to sign on the dotted line and the series launched with Mark – who at that point was best known for his roles in The West Wing and St Elsewhere – cast in the lead role.

Harrison Ford came close to playing Gibbs in the CBS drama

However, in a nod to what could have been, in the pilot episode of the series, Harrison and his film Air Force One are name-dropped as the team find themselves on a case that is eerily similar to the plot of the 1997 blockbuster. While walking through a plane, Gibbs marvels at the parallels, exclaiming: “This is in the movie! Harrison is sitting right here.”

MORE: Did you know that another actress was originally cast as Abby Sciuto on NCIS before Pauley Perrette?

What’s more, Harrison was not the only huge star who almost appeared on the show as, according to Collider, Jennifer Aniston was also in the running to play a main character.

The role of special agent Kate Todd eventually went to Sasha Alexander, although the Friends actress auditioned for it, with rumors claiming that she was unable to commit to the show as she was still filming the final season of the sitcom.

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