‘NCIS:’ What Mark Harmon Tells Young Actors on the Show

Known to the public as the face of NCIS, Mark Harmon has more than earned his stay on the most-watched show on television, one that boasts an unrivaled international fanbase (and quite the diehard mom demographic, as the debonair and devilishly handsome actor was once People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive).

Mark Harmon
Mark Harmon | Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Mark Harmon, arguably one of the hardest working men in entertainment, starred in several productions that failed to hit the heights NCIS has attained. From Flamingo Road and Reasonable Doubts to 240-Robert, not all of Harmon’s shows have received such critical acclaim and audience devotion. Thus, when it comes to working on NCIS, Mark Harmon does not take his role for granted.

While many actors have come and gone from the hit-show – often serving to turn the series into a revolving door of celebrity guest stars – Mark Harmon has been with the series since the early days, and he has no intentions of leaving. According to Harmon, if the writers show up every day with new, unique, and captivating narratives, he will be there to see them adequately delivered.

During an interview with ET, Mark Harmon explained the gratitude he holds for the show’s success, as well as the advice he often gives the younger cast members on the series. As the senior citizen on set, boasting a bit more wisdom and experience than many of his younger co-stars, Harmon’s words are not to be taken lightly, and they reflect his understanding of the fickle industry actors operate within.

Mark Harmon explains to the younger actors on the show what it means to work on ‘NCIS’

During the interview with ET Canada, Mark Harmon stated:

“I tell young actors all the time on this show, I say, ‘look, you come to work every day to work with friends, they’re terrifically talented people who only support you; you work with a great safety net underneath you here with this show. And, oh yeah, by the way, it’s the number one show in the world’…It’s not pressure; it’s not forgetting what it took to get there and what it takes to stay.”

Based on Mark Harmon’s words, it seems the actor wishes to ensure that the sprouts on the show – ones who often come and go – understand the gravity of working on NCIS, yet also appreciate the “safety net” that the number one show can provide.

As someone who hasn’t always worked on successful shows, Mark Harmon likely wants to impart some wisdom, knowing that not all television experiences these young actors will come to know will be as successful, as enjoyable, or as pre-determined (for coming to a hit show when it’s already in its prime, isn’t much of a risk). However, he makes it clear that they better show up ready to work, for you don’t stay at the top by growing lazy.

Who are some of the young actors Mark Harmon may be referring to?

Conducting this interview in 2017, it’s likely that Mark Harmon is referring to some newer folks. While Mark Harmon definitely has a few years on Michael Weatherly, Pauley Perrette, and Cote de Pablo, these actors were with the show from early on, and did not come to the #1 most-watched show, but rather, helped turn it into such a phenomenon.

Mark Harmon, while we cannot be certain and are merely speculating, is likely referencing Emily Wickersham, Diona Reasonover, and Wilmer Valderrama (who all joined the show more recently). However, as for Wilmer Valderrama, he’s no stranger to the ups and downs of Hollywood, as he starred on That ‘70s Show before proceeding with a few stints, many of which were less successful, and eventually finding himself on NCIS.