The Tragic Reason Mark Harmon May Never Leave ‘NCIS’

Since 2003, Mark Harmon has been the face of NCIS. A network television franchise with three shows currently in operation – NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles, and NCIS: New Orleans – all three are heartwarming and suspense-driven crime dramas that know how to keep viewers coming back for more.

Mark Harmon
Mark Harmon | Photo by Mathew Imaging/FilmMagic

Going onto the seventeenth season, the franchise’s first iteration has retained its title character – Agent Jethro Gibbs – since the start. While other actors have come and gone from the series, going on to spread their wings in new directions, Mark Harmon has remained committed to the show responsible for his success and happiness.

While Harmon is grateful to the series for all it has provided him (since being labeled one of People Magazine’s Sexiest Men Alive), he explained to People why he remains so steadfastly committed to the series, and why it would take the loss of strong narrative ideas for him to leave.

Mark Harmon seems to feel that there’s not much of a future for him in acting following NCIS

During his interview with People Magazine, Mark Harmon discussed NCIS, how he feels about the show, as well as his personal life and journey to stardom. Speaking on behalf of his commitment to the series, he stated:

“I’ve been around long enough to know what this is. That commitment is part of what I signed up for; I know when this show ends that’s it — there won’t be anything else like this for me.”

People Magazine

Based on the statement above, it appears that Mark Harmon has come to reconcile his age with his success. While many older actors are finding success in Hollywood these days – as compared to decades past – Mark Harmon recognizes the show as his big break. Harmon likely feels that he has already received his fair share of the cake.

Throughout the interview, Mark Harmon goes on to explain that he has a tremendous amount of pride related to the show’s success. He tells the interviewer that, after sixteen years, when people keep coming back for more, you know you’ve got a gem in your hands. Thus, Harmon will continue to show up on set every day.

While Mark Harmon seems satisfied with his work, and his current Hollywood status, viewers can’t help but sense the bittersweet tinge that his first statement retains.

Could it be that Mark Harmon is afraid he won’t find work at all, or that he won’t find an equally satisfying venture if he were to quit? How experienced is the actor, and could he make a smooth transition from TV to film following the series?

Mark Harmon’s work outside of NCIS

While Mark Harmon is most recognized for starring in NCIS, he appeared in several movies throughout the 1980s, including Summer School, The Presidio, and Stealing Hope; however, his is more known for his television work, as many of his films were critically dismissed.

Mark Harmon also starred in the drama series St. Elsewhere from 1982-1988, Chicago Hope from 1994-2000, and Reasonable Doubts from 1991-1993. The former two boasted pretty devoted followings while they were on the air. So, when it comes to Hollywood, it appears that Harmon found his niche in TV, and then soared to A-list status with NCIS.

Is it possible, at 67 years old, Mark Harmon feels that he will not land another great show or a big-budget Hollywood movie? While fans would beg to differ, uttering “there won’t be anything else like this for me” does feel a little defeatist.