NCIS: Origins Spinoff Casts Young Gibbs, Here's How He Compares To Season 1 Mark Harmon

NCIS: Origins Spinoff Casts Young Gibbs, Here's How He Compares To Season 1 Mark Harmon

Mark Harmon was once the face of CBS' biggest drama as the star of NCIS, but he left the hit show as Leroy Gibbs back in early Season 19 in 2021. He has yet to reprise the character on NCIS or any of the spinoffs in the years since (including the recent Ducky tribute), but the character is on the way back to TV via the NCIS: Origins spinoff centering on Gibbs' earlier years. Now, the actor has been found to play young Gibbs: Austin Stowell of A Friend of the Family and The Hating Game is on board.

While Mark Harmon's real-life son Sean Harmon played young Gibbs on NCIS in seasons that are available streaming via Paramount+ subscription, he's only on board NCIS: Origins as an executive producer. Austin Stowell won't have that family connection to the man who originated the Gibbs role, so it's worth looking at the A Friend of the Family actor and comparing him to Mark Harmon in the series premiere of NCIS that aired on CBS back in 2003:

Mark Harmon as Gibbs in NCIS pilot and Austin Stowell headshot

(Image credit: CBS - Dave Allocca)

Now, NCIS: Origins picks up in 1991, when Gibbs is just starting out his career at the NIS Camp Pendleton office, whereas the series premiere of NCIS picked up in 2003, so we wouldn't expect Gibbs circa '91 to look identical to Gibbs in the early aughts. The two actors do seem to have the same (or almost the same) eye color, which bodes well. After all, hair, makeup, and wardrobe can do a lot to transform a performer's appearance, but it's not so easy with eye color! Mark Harmon is set to narrate the series, so it shouldn't be hard to suspend any disbelief. I for one am on board with the casting.

Plus, I'd say that it's better for a show to pick the best star for the job than somebody who looks like the carbon copy of another actor, just ten years removed. While there's no NCIS: Origins premiere date at the time of writing, the young version of Gibbs being cast is certainly a very big step forward towards the prequel's planned arrival on CBS in the 2024-2025 TV season. Whether that means by the end of the 2024 TV schedule or a midseason 2025 debut remains to be seen.

Gibbs also isn't the only familiar character who will appear in the Origins spinoff with a new actor. His mentor, Mike Franks, will have a part to play after Muse Watson originated the role on NCIS. Agent Vera Strickland, played by Nip/Tuck alum Roma Mafia on the original series, has a role in the prequel as well. Existing characters participating doesn't mean that Origins will just feel like a '90s version of NCIS, though. CBS Entertainment President Amy Reisenbach previewed a grittier and more serialized series as opposed to heavily procedural.

This is only the latest news on the franchise expanding. Just days before the news of Austin Stowell landing the role of Gibbs in Origins, Michael Weatherly and Cote de Pablo were announced to reprise their roles as Tony DiNozzo and Ziva David for a spinoff. Unlike Origins, the Tony/Ziva spinoff is in the works for Paramount+ rather than CBS.

For now, you can always revisit the earlier days of NCIS streaming with a Paramount+ subscription, and tune in to CBS on Mondays for new episodes of NCIS at 9 p.m. ET and NCIS: Hawai'i at 10 p.m. ET.