‘NCIS:’ Did Mark Harmon Get Away With Alleged Assault Because of His Value to CBS?

Following Pauley Perrette’s allegations of physical assault – and reports suggesting that intimidation tactics played into the actress’s departure from NCISMark Harmon has remained silent. According to the actress famous for bringing Abby Sciuto to life, she was “terrified of [Mark] Harmon” and will never return to NCIS, for fear that she may be attacked.

Mark Harmon and Pauley Perrette
Mark Harmon and Pauley Perrette | Photo by Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images

While many thought Mark Harmon would speak up to convey his side of the story, the executive producer and lead actor behind NCIS has yet to deny any allegations. And as time passes, his silence grows suspicious. 

Why remain silent if you’re innocent? Has CBS requested that he avoid discussing the matter – choosing to let the dust settle, as opposed to confronting the allegations head on? If Mark Harmon is innocent, he should want to clear his name. Mark Harmon’s silence has led many to wonder if he is, at least in some part, guilty of assaulting and harassing his former co-star. 

While it may be difficult to imagine that the charming, old-school gentleman we know and love could be responsible for such violent and petty behavior, it’s unfair to declare the man innocent on our loose presumptions concerning his character alone. Fans know Gibbs, not Harmon (no matter how much they may feel, and suggest, otherwise).

If Mark Harmon is guilty, he should face the repercussions of his actions. However, such backlash would spell trouble for CBS, which may be the very reason he, and the network, have remained tight-lipped. 

What if CBS wants to let Mark Harmon slide for his alleged behavior? 

Pauley Perrette once implied on Twitter that a “powerful machine” was keeping her silent. She stated:

“There is a “machine’ keeping me silent, and feeding FALSE stories about me.  A very rich, very powerful publicity “machine”. No morals, no obligation to truth, and I’m just left here, reading the lies, trying to protect my crew. Trying to remain calm. He did it.”


What if the same, “very powerful publicity machine” is protecting Harmon – asking him to remain silent – to protect their biggest money-maker from a steep drop in ratings? Mark Harmon is the face of NCIS, and as an executive producer on the series, he exists as a figurehead for the network. 

If Mark Harmon goes down, so does NCIS, and so does its network. CBS has its own reputation on the line when it comes to Mark Harmon, and if any of Pauley Perrette’s allegations are true, fans of the series would face internal conflict when it came to supporting the show. 

If Mark Harmon and CBS refuse to deny or affirm any allegations, fans will go on assuming he is innocent, and continue watching the most popular scripted procedural in the world.

If Harmon is guilty, is it better for the ‘NCIS’ star to remain silent, lie, or fess up?

For the sake of argumentation, assume Mark Harmon is guilty. Lying would protect the network in the short-term; however, the truth always finds its way to the surface. Thus, a lie would likely damage CBS and Harmon’s reputation to the greatest extent (yet, somewhere down the line). Is delaying the inevitable the best option?

Given that the coverage surrounding this issue is shrouded in rumors and controversy, shedding light onto the story may benefit Harmon and the network if, and only if, he is not guilty to the full extent of Perrette’s allegations.

Intentionally walking his violent dog around set when Perrette was present would be petty, but not necessarily harmful. However, if he did in fact “body check” her, as TMZ suggested, fessing up to that would cause an extreme backlash, and an immediate drop in ratings would likely follow suit. This option only works in Harmon’s favor if most of Perrette’s allegations are false.

Remaining silent allows Harmon to preserve his public image. If he says nothing, fans can’t say he is guilty. Innocence may not be confirmed with silence, but it could be preserved through it.