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NCIS Fans Likely Noticed This Major Change To The Season 20 Opening Credits

Contains spoilers for "NCIS" Season 20, Episode 1

"NCIS" Season 20, Episode 1 continues the overarching story of Season 19, while also devoting plenty of time to the team members' various relationships. The innocent, but framed Alden Parker (Gary Cole) remains on the run, and the rest of the team bonds over protecting him from the FBI. To raise the stakes even further, escaped prisoner Herman Maxwell (Michael Weston) turns out to be the dangerous criminal Raven — a storyline that seems to set up a cool crossover with the "NCIS: Hawaii" crew.

In other words, the stakes remain just as high as they've ever been in the show, if not even higher. However, for a longtime "NCIS" fan, the Season 20 opener just might deliver its biggest gut punch before it even truly begins. The show's iconic opening credits have received a highly impactful overhaul that many "NCIS" viewers likely couldn't help but notice. Here's what's different this season.

Mark Harmon has left the opening credits

The end of the Leroy Jethro Gibbs era has been at hand for quite a while now, since Mark Harmon left "NCIS" as a full-time performer after Season 18. Per TV Line, Harmon would actually have preferred to walk away entirely, but ended up agreeing to appear in some Season 19 episodes after finding out that the fate of the entire show was potentially at stake. 

As the opening credits of "NCIS" Season 20, Episode 1 started rolling, it was clear that Harmon's role in the series is even more diminished this time around. After all, for the first time in the series' history, he's not in the credits at all — a truly major change, seeing as he used to be the first cast member you see. 

There are still many great "NCIS" characters to keep track of, but if the new opening credits are any indication, it appears that Gibbs has decided to embrace his new life in Alaska. Time will tell if Harmon appears at some point in a guest star capacity.