"NCIS" team lead Leroy Jethro Gibbs, played for nearly two decades by Mark Harmon, is hanging up his badge – for now. 

The "north star" of the law enforcement drama series made emotional goodbyes in Monday's episode of "NCIS" as he solved the case he calls "the most meaningful of all."

Harmon's Gibbs launched the series as the main character when the show first premiered on CBS in 2003 and now, 18 years later, he's taking a step back from the squad. But according to the show, it isn't goodbye forever. 

As an executive producer and dear friend, Mark continues to be an integral part of the fabric of the show.

Our north star has always been staying true to our characters, the show posted on Instagram Monday. "Regarding the future of Gibbs, as long-time fans of the show may have noticed over the years…never count Leroy Jethro Gibbs out.”

During Monday's show "Great Wide Open," Gibbs goes rogue after being suspended from the squad and secretly teams up with longtime right-hand-man Timothy McGee (Sean Murray) to solve a case involving murders surrounding sacred Alaskan land being used for corporate mining. 

The episode included flashbacks of Gibbs giving imparting words ahead of his Alaska trip to his former team members McGee, Nicholas Torres (Wilmer Valderrama), Dr. "Ducky" Mallard (David McCallum), and NCIS Director Leon Vance (Rocky Carroll).

At the end of the episode, McGee gears up to head back home with Gibbs, but Gibbs insists on staying in Alaska with no plans to solve cases in Washington, D.C. again.