Mark Harmon Reveals Why He's Leaving 'NCIS' After 19 Seasons

The chapter is now complete. For the first time since his character's final appearance on NCIS last fall, Mark Harmon spoke out about his departure.

"What has always drawn me here is the character I play and keeping it fresh and challenging

the 70-year-old actor, who played special agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs on the CBS show

 revealed during an interview featured in the season 19 DVD release, according to Entertainment Tonight.

"From a plot standpoint, this character has taken the path that it has."

Harmon went on to say that he thought Gibbs' journey was "honest," assuring fans of the long-running procedural that the agent was still alive and well in the NCIS universe.