Mark Harmon is not Leroy Jethro Gibbs.


But he is a team player.


Mark Harmon sat down with PBS syndicated talk show host Tavis Smiley to discuss NCIS. He talked about the show being a team effort.


Harmon isn’t like Gibbs. He doesn’t have the sharp edge. He isn’t closed preferring to play his cards close to his vest. He’s open and instantly likeable. He doesn’t dole out head slaps.

Tavis asks Harmon how the show has lasted for seven seasons against American Idol.


“We always just concentrated on doing the work. It’s the only thing that’s in our control,” Harmon said. 

I’ll say it again. Harmon is humble. He doesn’t speak of himself and if ‘I’ ever does creep into a sentence its in reference to something he has done with others. In Harmon’s vernacular  ‘I’ is followed in most sentences by ‘we’ or ‘us’.


“I don’t think that any of us who’ve been there the whole time are too surprised by the success the show is having. I think it’s odd that hearing you’re seven we’ve had more success than ever before,” Harmon explained.


Harmon isn’t the kind of guy who throws his ‘executive producer’ weight around. He also doesn’t measure the size of his trailer to that of his co-workers.


He continues about the success of the show.


“I also think its earned success and honestly earned too by the way,” Harmon said pointing his finger for emphasis.


What does ‘honestly earned’ mean? The show has generated huge ratings with season seven their best to date.


A little aside here, according to Nielsen Ratings for Tuesday, May 26, 2010, NCIS had its lowest audience this season against American Idol. It was the finale episode for that show too and it marked the departure of Simon Cowell. Who didn’t want to see that?


I didn’t. I had the popcorn and my favorite beverage while watching Gibbs’ fate. You too? Well you’re a loyal NCIS fan. I knew I could count on you.


Getting back to ‘honestly earned’. Harmon told Smiley what he meant.


“We’ve done 160 episodes and no one is phoning it in. It’s about the work ethic. It’s about appreciating what you have,” he expounded.


Harmon knows who he works for. Not just CBS but those people who count on the show for a living. With contract negotiations still going on, we fans are focused on our favorite actors. But Harmon thinks of others.


“I’m more concerned about the job. Not you’re job and my job, the jobs of these people here who man the cameras, manning the sound booms and all those other things,” Harmon stated pointing off stage.


Mark Harmon also believes in luck. He said it over and over. He felt luck played into success. His background was just luck at work again.


The characters are slowly coming to light for us. We are beginning to learn about their families and past. This is a show that has characters the viewers are involved in.


“If you had written some of these back-stories in years one, two, three in that area I don’t know that the audience would have cared. Now they’re invested. Now they care,” Harmon reflected.

You bet we’re invested. We spend each Tuesday night with these people. We want to know more about Tony DiNozzo, Ziva David, Tim McGee, Abby Sciuto, Dr. ‘Ducky’ Mallard and especially Leroy Jethro Gibbs. Who named him anyway? Is it a family name? I’m just curious.


Did you know early on there was a script that changed Gibbs’ name? Harmon told Smiley he called up and had it changed back to Leroy Jethro Gibbs. He just loved the name.


Harmon is a guy on the NCIS team. He learned it well from his coaches and his father.

Tavis Smiley pointed out that Harmon was a team player from his early days in sports.


“I actually don’t know any other way of doing it. I’m a team guy,” Harmon acknowledged.


It’s good to have Mark Harmon on your team. He’s a nice guy with a strong work ethic that thinks of others. He’s the leader of NCIS in front of and behind the cameras. We couldn’t ask for better. In that respect he is Gibbs.


(Image courtesy of CBS)

Jacky Jackman

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV