Mark Harmon Does Not Treat Acting as If Breathing in ‘Artistic Air,’ Explains Michael Weatherly

After 17 seasons of NCIS, and an 18th already confirmed, Mark Harmon remains dedicated to Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs. He is grateful for the primetime procedural that has made him an international celebrity, and he shows up to the set every day, ready to get the job done. 

Mark Harmon and Michael Weatherly of NCIS
Mark Harmon and Michael Weatherly in ‘NCIS’ | Colleen Hayes/CBS via Getty Images

While some actors come and go — leaving the show behind to explore new opportunities — Harmon has already done the movie thing; he’s already starred alongside greats like Liz Taylor and Sean Connery. In short, he’s happy with NCIS and the consistency it offers. Mark Harmon sees his work as an actor as a job; he does not feel special, nor does he carry an artistic air, as one of his former co-hosts explained. Though he is an artist, he does not allow such a term to impact his day-to-day. 

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Mark Harmon on working as an actor

Mark Harmon looks at acting like any other career. When discussing his portfolio of work, he explained to CBS Magazine: 

I’ve been fortunate in my career, which has always been about longevity to me…I try not to get too excited about any one thing. I think it’s all about a body of work over a number of years, and I believe in a work ethic. I believe you work hard at something, and I believe that you don’t forget what it is that got you there…It’s like being a jock in college…I wasn’t the most gifted on the field by any means, but I worked hard.

CBS Magazine as qtd. in NCISFanWiki

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Some tend to look at acting as an artistic expression — a talent-fueled occupation that few are lucky enough to succeed in. And, while Harmon is definitely talented, he views hard work as the end all be all. In short, he may be an artist, but his artistic skill is not what got him to NCIS; rather, it’s his dedication. Michael Weatherly once spoke about Harmon’s outlook on acting, explaining the leading man’s down-to-earth perspective. 

Michael Weatherly on Mark Harmon’s view of acting 

For many years, Michael Weatherly and Mark Harmon starred across from one another in NCIS. Michael Weatherly played Tony DiNozzo: Gibbs’ second-in-command. During this time, the actors grew close. Michael Weatherly learned a great deal from Mark Harmon, and he came to see how the actor views his job. Weatherly explained: 

Mark still works like a carpenter…When you talk to him about work, it’s a little like talking to someone who is retrofitting your bathroom. It’s all very practical, and he doesn’t want anyone to feel like he’s breathing an artistic air.

CBS Magazine as qtd. In NCISFanWiki 

Mark Harmon looks at performing like any other job — it’s a practical exercise. The more experience you have, the better you get. The harder you work, the more successful you will become. 

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