‘NCIS’: What Is Mark Harmon’s Favorite Gibbs Rule?

If you watch NCIS regularly, then you’re likely familiar with Gibbs’ rules. He made sure to establish what his rules are as early as NCIS Season 1, Episode 1, when he introduced Kate Todd (Sasha Alexander) to the world of NCIS. He made it clear that if Kate wanted to work with him, she would have to stick to his rule book.

Which rule is Mark Harmon’s favorite? Here’s what he once said about his favorite Gibbs rule.

Gibbs has broken quite a few rules

Mark Harmon and Stephen Colbert | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images
Mark Harmon and Stephen Colbert | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images

Although Gibbs has a list of rules he lives by, he has been breaking the rules a lot recently. One rule he broke was Rule No. 3 (also known as “other rule No. 3”), “Never be unreachable.” Gibbs broke this rule during “Lost Time” (season 16, episode 13). Bishop called Gibbs after he didn’t show up to work. In that scene, Gibbs picks up his phone, see Bishop’s name, and then rejects the call.

Another rule Gibbs broke is Rule No. 15, “Always work as a team.” Gibbs broke this rule when he went to confront Judge Deacon. The judge put a hit on him, so Gibbs wanted to meet with him and give him a piece of his mind.

The Gibbs rule Mark Harmon easily remembers

During an interview with Larry King, Harmon is asked if he has a list of Gibbs’ rules. Harmon says he doesn’t. However, there are a few rules he remembers by heart. He told King he easily remembers Gibbs rule No. 9, which advises people to never go anywhere without a knife. “No,” replied Harmon. “I know there is a list, a big list. I know some of them, like ‘Always carry a knife’.”

Mark Harmon’s favorite Gibbs rule

During a 2012 interview with CBS about season 9, the NCIS cast answered fan questions. One fan asked Harmon if Gibbs’ rules can be applied to daily life and what his favorite Gibbs rule is. Harmon says he thinks Gibbs rules can be applied to daily life. However, he also says he “doesn’t practice many of them.”

As you would probably expect, when it comes to his favorite rule, Harmon’s answer is quite mysterious. Harmon hesitated to give a straightforward answer. When asked again by Cote de Pablo to give his favorite, he replied, “No, not a chance.”

Harmon goes on to say he admires Gibbs for having standards. “I think it’s good to have some sort of moral compass or character, structure,” Harmon continues. “And I think that’s what Gibbs has. But whether I practice them, or I have a favorite, you’ll never know.”

Co-star Rocky Carroll chimed in and said his favorite is Rule No. 9, which as we mentioned earlier is, “Never go anywhere without a knife.”   

Read more: NCIS: What Are Gibbs’ Rules?

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