"NCIS" has stood head and shoulders above most of its police procedural peers for years, thanks to its lovable cast of eclectic characters and almost uncanny longevity.

The CBS show has been running since 2003, and the ongoing Season 19 finds the series as strong as usual.

However, it's clear that the show's arguably most massive change yet is on the not-too-distant horizon, and it's been looking that way for a while.

For 18 years, the stalwart leader of the titular investigation team in "NCIS" has been Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon), who was the backbone of the show throughout its first 18 seasons.

There's a reason the previous sentence is in the past tense. Season 19 of "NCIS" has revealed that new developments — along with 18 seasons of hard-hitting investigations weighing down on his broad shoulders — have caused Gibbs to decide that he's done with his NCIS job, and that he's planning to carve a new life for himself in Alaska.

It's an understandable development for the character for anyone who watched the Season 18 finale.

The episode showed Gibbs boarding a boat that wasn't destined to last long. As it sailed out to sea, it unexpectedly blew up.

Fortunately, fans saw Gibbs's body not long afterward with him soon swimming to shore.