‘NCIS:’ Why Mark Harmon Has Yet to Respond to Pauley Perrette’s Physical Assault Allegations

After Pauley Perrette took to Twitter and claimed that Mark Harmon physically assaulted her, all eyes have been directed at the lead actor and executive producer behind NCIS. Following years of rumors shrouded in secrecy, the story – initially focusing on a violent dog attack – came into the light.

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

According to Pauley Perrette, after she tried to “speak up” and prevent Harmon’s dog from returning to the set, she was “physically assaulted” and “lost” her job. Many have gone on to assume the since-deleted Tweet implies that Mark Harmon intimidated Pauley Perrette into quitting.

TMZ reported that Harmon allegedly body-checked the actress, and would “trot” his dog around the set – especially when she was present – following the incident.

Whether or not Perrette’s allegations are true remains undetermined; however, the alleged behavior does sound immature and petty – qualities that many fans find difficult to associate with Harmon. However, why hasn’t Mark Harmon spoken up to defend himself? There are a few possible theories to consider.

Mark Harmon, ‘NCIS,’ and CBS: has an informal gag order been issued?

Mark Harmon is the face of ‘NCIS,’ and serving as the show’s executive producer, he is also a figurehead for the CBS network. CBS has a lot running on Mark Harmon’s continued presence on the show, and his admirable public persona.

Remember: NCIS is the most-watched scripted show on TV, and the network’s major money-maker now that The Big Bang Theory if off the air. Meaning, the head honchos at CBS may be working to determine the best response from a fiscal and reputational perspective.

CBS may have requested that Mark Harmon remain silent for the time being, as they determine the correct way to proceed, or choose to let the dust settle. Mark Harmon may be under an informal gag order of sorts; it’s unlikely that CBS has bound him to silence, but, given his relationship to the network, they could have requested he remains quiet to avoid feeding the fire.

Whether or not Mark Harmon is guilty will definitely play into the network’s response. If he is innocent, avoiding a he-said-she-said debate may be the best move to maintain the network and Mark Harmon’s reputation. If he is guilty, the plan for moving forward while minimizing damages, changes.

If Mark Harmon is guilty…

If Mark Harmon is guilty, and Pauley Perrette’s allegations are true, constructing the proper apology will take time. Not to mention, it’s likely that he will want to tell his side of the story and bring to light any exaggerations on Perrette’s part (without minimizing the victim’s experience).

While Mark Harmon and the network may be constructing the proper apology, if Harmon is guilty, they may avoid responding altogether. Given the positive reception Mark Harmon continues to receive, letting the dust settle may be the wisest move (even if any of what Perrette has said is true).

Sometimes, maintaining an image is as easy as avoiding the spotlight. If Mark Harmon makes an announcement, the scrutiny will begin. How much of what Perrette said is true? Is Mark Harmon lying to cover it up? Has Pauley Perrette taken a situation out of context? Did Mark Harmon body check her on purpose? Was it with malintent? The list goes on.

To make a long story short, if Mark Harmon is innocent, avoiding a he-said-she-said debate seems like the best move. If he is guilty, a carefully constructed apology may ensue; however, we can ensure that a new side of the story will come forward – one that maintains or reinforces Harmon’s good-natured public presence.