The Practical Joke Michael Weatherly, Lauren Holly Pulled on Mark Harmon for His Birthday

NCIS has been one of the most successful shows on network television for the last 15 years. Yet, its early claim to fame had a lot to do with the palpable chemistry between the primary cast members. 

While Michael Weatherly and Lauren Holly are no longer with the show, they both brought a necessary piece to the show’s various interpersonal dynamics back in the day. Michael Weatherly portrayed the one and only Agent Tony DiNozzo, while Holly played former NCIS Director Jenny Shepard. 

Michael Weatherly, Cote de Pablo, Lauren Holly of NCIS
Michael Weatherly, Cote de Pablo, Lauren Holly of ‘NCIS’ | CBS via Getty Images

Mark Harmon remains the show’s bread and butter. He is the guy who remains steadfast in his commitment to the procedural and has since gone on to become an executive producer. Thus, it should come as no surprise that when opportunities arise to show their appreciation, his fellow cast members seize them (in a glorious comedic fashion). A while back, for Mark Harmon’s birthday, Lauren Holly and Michael Weatherly devised quite the elaborate scheme. 

RELATED: Former ‘NCIS’ Star Pauley Perrette on Her ‘Sparkle’ With Michael Weatherly

Lauren Holly explains how she, Michael Weatherly, and the ‘NCIS’ team once celebrated Mark Harmon’s Birthday

As fans of Mark Harmon know, he doesn’t love the spotlight, and he will often push away adulation for NCIS, routing attention to the writers and the talented actors he gets to work with every day. 

Those involved know how essential Harmon is to the show’s success. Weatherly and Holly once collaborated to celebrate Harmon — in a manner they presumed he would be quite uncomfortable with. Holly explained, as HeraldExtra notes, “It started out…with ordering 150 T-shirts that said, ‘It’s Mark Harmon’s birthday,’ that we passed out to the entire crew.”

RELATED: Michael Weatherly Reveals Tony DiNozzo’s Hero: Who Does the ‘NCIS’ Character Look Up To?

Holly and Weatherly then proceeded to decorate Harmon’s trailer…by covering it in crepe paper, balloons, and pinatas. Thet also stocked it “three inches deep” with confetti. HeraldExtra notes that they decorated every trailer, wall, and truck. Holly and Weatherly even collaborated with the art department to get a picture of Harmon’s face on the plasma screen TVs in the squad-room. Holly did not get to stick around for Harmons’ reaction, because she had to fly back home to her family, yet she was excited to hear about the actor’s response. 

How did Mark Harmon respond to his over-the-top Birthday surprise? 

Holly went on to explain what happened when Mark Harmon arrived on the set. She stated: 

He arrived to work with everybody dressed in the t-shirts, holding signs…From a distance, he told me he thought something had happened and there was a strike, because he saw these people parading around with signs 


Michael Weatherly quickly put the blame on Lauren Holly, after explaining he wouldn’t name any names. And then, Harmon went on to surprise the two pranksters. Holly expected Harmon to “freak out” and then “ultimately love it,” but he was “touched” from the get-go, she explained. And, since the whole thing was caught on camera, he took the tape home to share the moment with his wife, Pam Dawber.