Brian Dietzen on the ‘NCIS’ Actors Who Are Nothing Like Their Characters

Several actors have been known to emulate their beloved on-screen counterparts in their day-to-day lives. According to fans, Robert Downey Jr. is Iron Man, and Chris Evans is just as gentlemanly and morally upstanding as Captain America. Yet, not all actors behave like their beloved screen characters. According to Brian Dietzen, some NCIS stars couldn’t be further from their Naval counterparts in disposition and personality.

Brian Dietzen of NCIS
Brian Dietzen of ‘NCIS’ | Michael Yarish/CBS via Getty Images

During an interview with Paul Semel, Brian Dietzen discussed his NCIS co-stars, taking time to explain how Mark Harmon and Rocky Carroll behave very differently behind-the-scenes than the stern and somber Gibbs and Director Leon Vance, respectively. 

Brian Dietzen talks Mark Harmon 

Mark Harmon is known as quite the funny man; he loves a good practical joke, and he’s got a warm heart. While Gibbs doesn’t let anyone through his stone-cold exterior, Mark Harmon is a playful guy. Brian Dietzen explained, “You know me, I don’t act like Jimmy [his ‘NCIS’ character], either. It’s like how Mark Harmon doesn’t act like some hard-nosed marine.” Semel then noted that Harmon is often “acting like a goof.” 

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Harmon once pulled a very dark, practical joke on Cote de Pablo. Harmon found a dead lizard, put a noose around its neck, and then hung it in Cote de Pablo’s trailer with a note that read, “I couldn’t take it anymore.” In short, Harmon is nowhere near as serious as Gibbs. Though Harmon takes his work seriously and shows up to set ready to get the job done each day, he makes room for jokes (even if they are sometimes twisted and bizarre).

Brian Dietzen compares Rocky Carroll to his ‘NCIS’ character, Leon Vance 

Rocky Carroll’s NCIS character always means business. He has no time for chit-chat, and he expects everyone to rise to the occasion at all times. Yet, That’s not Carroll. Dietzen told Semel: 

Oh yeah. Rocky Carroll’s probably the biggest departure from his character because he’s the most affable, kind-hearted, open guy you’ll ever meet, but on the show he has to be the rock that Gibbs knocks up against once in a while. 

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In the show, Gibbs and Vance often go head-to-head. And, despite their somewhat controversial dynamic on the screen, Harmon and Carroll boast a friendship that goes many years back. 

Rocky Carroll and Mark Harmon starred in Chicago Hope together way before NCIS was even a twinkle in the initial showrunner, David Bellisario’s eye. The two have quite a strong relationship, one fueled with respect and admiration. And, while their characters respect each other in NCIS, they don’t always get along seamlessly.