‘NCIS:’ How Mark Harmon Intimidated Pauley Perrette to Quit (Allegedly)

Since Pauley Perrette announced on Twitter that she would never return to NCIS– a decision driven in large part by fear of her former co-star Mark Harmon – fans have been curious as to what exactly happened that led the actress to claim she was assaulted. What did Mark Harmon do?

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

Pauley Perrette and Mark Harmon starred on NCIS together from 2003 until Perrette exited the show in 2018. However, towards the end of Perrette’s time on the series, she and Harmon were no longer sharing the screen. Sources later reported that this was a compromise CBS officials and showrunners reached following a disagreement between Perrette and Harmon concerning Mark Harmon’s dog.

Mark Harmon’s dog reportedly attacked a crew member (the damages of which you can see in a since-deleted Tweet from Perrette here) and – when Perrette requested the dog not be permitted on set anymore – she was met with backlash from NCIS lead and executive producer Mark Harmon. This drew on their relationship and was believed to be to the very reason Perrette left NCIS. However, as details emerge, it becomes clear that the dog may have only been one small part of the whole story.

Pauley Perrette said she faced physical assault on the set of NCIS at the hands of Mark Harmon

According to Pauley Perrette, when she fought to keep the dog from hurting anyone else, she was “physically assaulted for “saying no,” as reported by E-News. While the extent of this physical assault cannot be determined, recent reports from TMZ imply that intimidation tactics may have been in play.

TMZ reported that Mark Harmon “body-checked” Pauley Perrette; however, this wasn’t the full extent of his actions (allegedly). Sources familiar with the whole story told TMZ that Pauley Perrette felt Harmon’s body check was his way of putting Perrette in her place (letting her know who was boss).

To make matters worse, sources told TMZ that Mark Harmon “only trotted the dog around” when Perrette was on-set, as to intimidate the actress. Pauley Perrette and Mark Harmon’s relationship has been shrouded in secrecy and controversy since she departed the series; however, it seems that, as more information comes to light, Pauley Perrette may not have left NCIS merely to pursue other opportunities and escape an aggressive dog.

In her since-deleted Tweet, Perrette implies that she “lost” her job; meaning, in her eyes, it was taken away from her. If she was physically assaulted – and if Harmon walked his dog around her to raise tension – she could feel she was virtually pushed out of the show, that she was intimidated to the extent that she had to “quit.”

Are Pauley Perrette’s allegations true?

According to previous reports, Pauley Perrette may have a history of lies following her; thus, while some fans have spoken up in her defense, claiming that Mark Harmon is a bully, others don’t believe her.

If there’s one thing we should know about victims and aggressors, siding with the victim normally puts you on the right side. Furthermore, Pauley Perrette will be in a new show, debuting on CBS soon, so what would be her motivation for bringing something up, other than to quiet fans’ questions concerning her return?

Pauley Perrette, since Cote de Pablo returned to NCIS, has faced multiple questions about her return to the series, and, if she truly is afraid of Mark Harmon, the outpouring of social media attention directed at her role on NCIS may be triggering. As these allegations have yet to be confirmed or denied, fans await Mark Harmon’s response.