Mark Harmon finally reveals real feelings he had about NCIS twenty years ago

Mark Harmon has potentially played one of the most iconic characters on television in recent history. His portrayal of Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs on NCIS is much loved.

Now, after leaving the show, the actor has made some comments which have shocked people. Keep reading to know more…

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72-year-old Mark Harmon has been in the limelight for decades. The actor had been starring on CBS’ hit show NCIS for 19 seasons. He left the show in 2022, and now it seems he is opening up about his true feelings about the show.

The actor is currently promoting his book, Ghosts of Honolulu: A Japanese Spy, A Japanese American Spy Hunter, and the Untold Story of Pearl Harbor. The book is about real-life Naval Criminal Investigative Service. 

The actor, of course, discussed NCIS, the long-running CBS drama where he starred as Leroy Jethro Gibbs for 19 seasons. He revealed some little-known facts about his participation in the show, including how he might have never been a part of it had certain things in his life not worked out.

“I didn’t expect to like the script as much as I did when I first read it,” Mark Harmon shared. “I was reading other things and I was also trying to stay home — young family and I wanted to try and be home more,” the actor added.

So what cinched the deal for Mark Harmon? The character’s name! He said, “I read ‘Leroy Jethro Gibbs’ and thought, ‘Huh, I like that name.” He added, “And then for a brief second when I decided that I liked the idea of the project, the name changed.” 

The actor shared how he had just finished projects like Freaky Friday, The West Wing and JAG before NCIS began to air so he was already a seasoned performer.

“Bob Johnson or something like that. And I went, ‘No, no, it’s gotta be Leroy Jethro Gibbs.’ The creator said, ‘No, you can’t play a guy named Leroy Jethro Gibbs,’ and I said, ‘Why not?’” the actor and writer continued. “And then it went back and I was happy about it.”

He said it was not the network but the show’s creator Donald P. Bellisario who wanted to change his character’s name.

The actor left the show after 19 successful seasons. And he shared how he had been grateful for every episode of the show. He shared on the occasion of the show’s 20th anniversary, “As an actor, you don’t think in those kinds of terms. You’re thinking, ‘TV series, if it does three years, we’re gifted.’ But they’ve done well and they’ve worked hard and so it’s a really good group of people.”

“I don’t know that any of us thought that the show was going to be around as long as it’s been around,” the actor added. 

The series became so popular, it inspired a few spin-off series which include NCIS: Los Angeles, NCIS: Hawaii and NCIS: Sydney.

“We talked about this a lot … over the years and I always thought that this show had characters, and it had humor, which made it different,” Harmon said. “It had a case, but the case isn’t what drove it — I think that’s still true.” 

Harmon, who has appeared in 430 episodes of the show, talked about how he understands why viewers love the show. And he has made sure to always leave the possibility of Gibbs returning open. He said, “He’s probably sitting in a stream up in Alaska fishing,” Harmon joked. “Is he going to get out of the stream? I don’t know. But if he is, I don’t know about it.” 

If you found this piece interesting, check out this piece about Mark Harmon’s special request for his last NCIS episode.


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Mark Harmon and Angie Harmon share the same name but are they related?

The actor really keeps Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs close to his heart! And how could he not? He played the character for almost two decades! What do you think of his revelations about the show?

Let us know in the comments. And share this with other shows of the fans so they can know about this tiny lesser-known detail as well!

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