CBS’ determination to maintain the specifics of NCIS star Mark Harmon‘s alleged “restricted” Season 19 dedication below wraps is starting to make sense.

A number of sources verify to TVLine solely that Harmon is slated to seem in a comparatively small variety of episodes subsequent season. One insider near the CBS procedural reveals of Harmon’s Season 19 episode depend: “It’s going to be within the low single digits.” One other supply says the actor will make solely “just a few” appearances all through the season.

A CBS rep declined to remark for this story.

To fill the Harmon-sized gap, CBS is in talks with TV vet Gary Cole to affix the solid in a serious Season 19 function. (Our sister pub Selection first reported Cole’s doable casting.)

NCIS teed up Harmon’s drastically decreased Season 19 workload by “killing” off Gibbs within the Season 18 finale. (Within the episode’s last moments, Gibbs was taking his newest handcrafted boat out for a spin when it out of the blue was blown to smithereens. His “lifeless” physique, nonetheless, could possibly be seen discreetly and purposely swimming away proper earlier than the display minimize to black.)

Weeks previous to his (staged?) “demise,” Gibbs had been suspended indefinitely from his function at NCIS, after assaulting an abuser of canine. He finally helped a neighborhood reporter (performed by Gibbs’ real-life spouse, Pam Dawber) examine a doable serial killer.

“We take it yr by yr with Mark,” CBS leisure chief Kelly Kahl instructed Deadline final month. “We’d like to have him so long as he’d prefer to be right here…. [W]e’re comfortable to work round his schedule.”

Information of Harmon’s standing change comes as NCIS prepares to exit its longtime Tuesday-at-8 pm time slot. As we beforehand reported, the venerable collection will relocate to Mondays-at-9 pm this fall.