What Does Mark Harmon Do When He’s Not Filming ‘NCIS’?

Actor Mark Harmon has played Jethro Gibbs, head of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, or NCIS, on the CBS drama of the same name since 2003.

He probably knows his character, Gibbs, almost as well as he knows himself after playing the character for more than 15 years. But what does Harmon do in his downtime when he’s not being Gibbs on NCIS? Find out what the actor does in his free time ahead.

Harmon on pilates: ‘It completely kicks my a**’

Harmon can be found doing pilates when he’s not filming scenes for NCIS. In an interview with Men’s Journal, the 67-year-old actor talked about pilates and how he discovered the practice. When asked how he stays in shape, Harmon replied, “Pilates. It completely kicks my a**.”

Mark Harmon
Mark Harmon attends the sixth biennial Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) telecast at the Barker Hangar on Friday, September 7, 2018, in Santa Monica, California. | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Following an injury, Harmon found pilates through his physical therapist. “[I had a] shoulder injury [that drew me to Pilates]. The physical therapist I went to was all about that. They kick your a** on these machines. I was a big runner after college — I used to do 60 to 70-mile weeks every week. I wish I had some of that back now. [Pilates] is all about controlling the machine, and that’s twice as hard.”

He is a ‘stay home’ kind of guy

The actor isn’t one to go out every weekend. Harmon would much rather hang out at home with his wife of 31 years, Pam Dawber, a former actress. “It’s not even a choice. It’s who we are,” he said. “We stay home a lot. I’m not a Twitter guy or a Facebook guy. Our sons aren’t into that, either.”

Mark Harmon and Pam Dawber.
Actor Mark Harmon arrives with wife Pam Dawber at TV Guide magazine’s Annual Hot List Party at Greystone Mansion Supperclub on November 7, 2011, in Beverly Hills, California. |Michael Tullberg/Getty Images

The “sons” Harmon is referring to are Sean Harmon, born in 1988, and Ty Christian Harmon, born in 1992. Both now work in the film industry, Sean is an actor like his parents and Ty Christian is a screenwriter.

Harmon of ‘NCIS’ loves doing carpentry work

The actor grew up learning the craft of woodworking. “I used to hang out in my dad’s workshop on weekends,” he told Sunset. Gibbs, Harmon’s NCIS character, also is good with carpentry. He works on a boat in his basement.

“Later, when I was starting out as an actor, I became a roofer and a framer to make money,” Harmon added. “But what I really enjoyed was finish work. I like the longevity of it: If you do it right, it will be around a lot longer than you are.”

Mark Harmon play Gibbs on 'NCIS.'
Mark Harmon as Jethro Gibbs. | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images

If he wasn’t acting, he’d “be a carpenter,” the actor told Men’s Journal. “I tried to do that, but I just couldn’t get hired. I enjoyed getting up and doing that in the morning; I enjoyed the drive to work. […] I think that’s probably what I would have been trying to do had I not been [acting].”

He does home renovations

Likely stemming from his love of carpentry, Harmon completes home (and trailer) renovation projects with his wife, Dawber.

“I rebuilt my own house before I was married. It had 3-foot stone walls―it had been a toolshed in the 1930s,” Harmon told Sunset. “It took about two years,” he added.

When he moved into the current home he shares with his wife, Dawber, the renovation stakes were raised. “Our current house was a complete redo,” Harmon said. “Probably everybody except us would have torn it down. But if you give a house a chance to talk to you, you learn things.”

“My wife and I do this well together because we have similar tastes,” Harmon added. The husband-and-wife renovation team may be able to give Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s Fixer Upper a run for their money. If Harmon ever leaves NCIS, we know it wouldn’t be far-fetched to think he could wind up with a home renovation show of his own.