‘NCIS’: Why Mark Harmon Won’t Speak Out About Pauley Perrette Any Time Soon

It’s been about a month since the controversy erupted between former NCIS co-stars Mark Harmon and Pauley Perrette. So far, Harmon has publically stayed silent on the matter, even though Perrette’s accusations were repetitive and adamant. 

Perrette all but directly accused Harmon of assaulting her, claiming that was the primary reason she left the show and refused to come back. Despite the “Me Too” movement that stresses women should be believed, some fans have accused Perrette of lying or at least inflating the story for attention. A few fans have dedicated Twitter accounts to Perrette, both pro and con. 

Some may view Harmon’s lack of comment on the matter suspicious, but a case can be made that the right to remain silent might be the best move.

The case for Mark Harmon to keep quiet 

Mark Harmon
Mark Harmon | Erik Voake/CBS via Getty Images

It’s a good bet that Harmon has stayed out of the fight on the advice of attorneys or CBS. As the police tell everyone when they’re arrested, anything they say can be used against them. There may be no court of law involved yet, and Harmon probably prefers to keep it that way. 

The court of public opinion could backfire if anything Harmon says is taken out of context, as it often would be on social media. Perrette has already found out the hard way how the tide can turn against you on Twitter, although she still maintains her side of the story. 

The initial investigation indicated the trouble might have started with a dog Harmon had brought to the set: The animal bit a crew member, necessitating that person getting 15 stitches. TMZ reported the fight between the actors was even more serious than that, with sources telling them Harmon body-checked Perrette after she complained to the network. 

Harmon and his team likely reason that it’s best not to add fuel to the fire, probably hoping the controversy will fade away if they stay quiet, and everyone will move on. Perrette has a new show with CBS called Broke, and Harmon has to continue the story of the surprising return of Ziva (Cote de Pablo) on NCIS.

The case for Mark Harmon to defend himself


On the other hand, some will argue that if Harmon did nothing wrong, then he should have nothing to hide and should stand up for himself. Harmon is a well-respected showbiz veteran whose career has spanned several decades. Up to now, he has dealt with relatively few if any personal controversies.

However, Celebrity Insider reports that behind the scenes, Harmon is not happy at all. An unnamed source told Radar Online that Harmon told CBS execs: “You’d better rein in Pauley Perrette — or I’ll sue her!”

For its part, CBS has said: “Pauley Perrette had a terrific run on NCIS, and we are all going to miss her. Over a year ago, Pauley came to us with a workplace concern. We took the matter seriously and worked with her to find a resolution. We are committed to a safe work environment on all our shows.”

Commenters on Celebrity Insider mostly side with Harmon, with one person saying: “There would be more people speaking up if this story of Pauley Perrette’s was even close to being true.”

Pauley Perrette isn’t the only former ‘NCIS’ star in the spotlight

NCIS has endured a number of negative headlines recently, even though a separate incident had nothing to do with the show itself. Actress Eliza Dushku accused former NCIS mainstay, Michael Weatherly, of sexual harassment while they worked together on the show BullCBS paid Dushku $9.5 million to settle the matter after recorded evidence of Weatherly’s actions came to light.

Weatherly publicly apologized to Dushku and managed to keep his job on Bull. However, the actor also deleted his social media accounts. So, in a sense, he’s taking the same tact as Harmon: Lay low and don’t volunteer information. 

The real truth of the matter between Harmon and Perrette will probably never be known. Cynics may say this will only improve ratings for NCIS, but the producers doubtlessly would prefer the show itself to be the news, not disputes between the actors.