Mark Harmon is the distinguished and endearing actor who plays the tough-guy Agent Gibbs. On NCIS, he plays a dedicated investigator with a golden heart and a set of famous, mostly unbreakable rules.
NCIS has been on the air since 2003, so many actors have come and gone (and come back… Yes, Cote de Pablo, we’re looking at you, reminiscing about your triumphant return).
Though the show has had its fair share of newcomers, Harmon has been with the show since the beginning. And, based on everything he’s said about the series, he has no plans to leave anytime soon. Not to mention that, as the face of the entire franchise, his departure would almost certainly be the one exit that the show could not survive.
After playing Gibbs for so long, the actor has discovered the nuances to his character, the many shades that some television characters never get to embody, because procedural cr1me dramas aren’t usually the place for character-driven work; however, NCIS is an exception. The characters’ relationships, their emotionally stirring histories, present concerns, and future concerns are what keep viewers coming back for more.
Mark Harmon spoke with Larry King about his role on NCIS. More specifically, to delve into his character, his family life, his relationships with his co-stars, and his understanding of the famous Leroy Jethro Gibbs. When asked to describe Gibbs, Harmon had only one word.
Agent Gibbs on ‘NCIS’ was described as “complex” by Mark Harmon.
Given that Mark Harmon has played Gibbs for so many seasons, it’s unlikely that a slew of adjectives would suffice to capture everything Gibbs is. The character is far from your average two-dimensional TV personality, as he is sometimes mentally tortured and other times lighthearted and jocular. As a result, when Larry King asked Mark Harmon how he sees Gibbs, he used the word “complex.” Mark Harmon elaborated later, saying:
“I’ve always said that I prefer the character’s underbelly to the rest of it.” I like his flaws, and they keep doing it, keeping pushing on that. He’s an unsettling character with a dark past.” – Mr. Larry King
King and Harmon continued to go into great detail about Gibbs. Harmon explains that Gibbs is content with his job, but that he is “alone at night by himself.” Unlike many others, the character is undeniably “complex.” Though vague, it’s no surprise that Harmon chose this word before elaborating, as it alluded to the role’s three-dimensionality.
Mark Harmon discusses his role as an executive producer on ‘NCIS.’
Several seasons ago, Mark Harmon was promoted to executive producer on NCIS. When asked about the responsibilities that came with the position, Harmon explained that not much had changed.
Harmon stated that he and the other cast members are all allowed to speak up when they believe a choice is inappropriate for their character. NCIS has a very open and accepting behind-the-scenes environment, which allows everyone on the show to maintain a necessary level of input and control.
“I think my input is about the same,” Mark Harmon said when asked if he had “more input.” “I think everyone has the same amount of input on this show,” he says, describing it as a blessing and an unconventional approach to network TV shows. Those in front of and behind the camera respect one another and listen to one another’s opinions, which is likely one of the many reasons the show is still so popular.