NCIS explained: Heartbreaking real-life reason why Gibbs wears a medical bracelet

Mark Harmon stepped down from his beloved role as the beloved Agent Gibbs in season 18.

Since its premiere on CBS in 2003, NCIS has remained a fan favorite on screens for its gripping procedural storylines, with many eager for its season 21 return in February.

The pilot introduced Mark Harmon as team leader Leroy Jethro Gibbs and his character instantly became a beloved and staple member of the cast.

As a result, viewers were heartbroken when after 400 episodes, his exit was confirmed and took place on the season 18 episode Great Wide Open.

Although the show primarily focused on investigations, the audience learned brief details about Gibbs and his past which were touched on or easily missed.

As well as the personal lives of the other team members, his background was often explored in flashbacks.

Gibbs’ skills, relationships, and his upbringing have all been mentioned, however many questioned why the agent always wore a medical bracelet.

Taking to a fan forum, a fan suggested it was due to his previous health scares including the near-fatal gunshot, cardiac arrest, and recovery.

Another implied: “It could also be that Gibbs suffers from an allergy to a particular drug … some medical bracelets contain such information, again, to help paramedics and doctors when attempting to save his life.”

As the medical bracelet was never mentioned on the show, the band didn’t have any connection to Gibbs but rather to Harmon.


NCIS: Gibbs

On NCIS actor Mark Harmon wore a medical bracelet in memory of his father (Image: CBS)

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It belonged to Harmon’s late father Jackson Harmon who died in 1990 and the actor wears it in memory of him.

As for a potential Gibbs reprisal, showrunner Steve Binder stated: “As an executive producer and dear friend, Mark continues to be an integral part of the fabric of the show.”

He added: “Our north star has always been staying true to our characters, and that truth has always guided the stories we tell and where those characters go.

“So regarding the future of Gibbs, as long-time fans of the show may have noticed over the years…never count Leroy Jethro Gibbs out.” 

NCIS season 21 premieres on CBS on Monday, February, 12.

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