Mark Harmon had one special request before his last ‘NCIS’ episode – and it has fans stunned

Earlier this year, Mark Harmon abruptly left NCIS after an incredible 423 episodes. After Leroy Jethro Gibbs left the show in mid-October, his final episode left fans inconsolable.

Though Harmon has left the possibility of making a comeback open, it is unclear what lies ahead for him. He wants to spend more time with his family for the time being, as they are the ones who ironically helped him land the NCIS job in the first place.

Recently, more information about Mark Harmon’s departure from NCIS has surfaced, including a unique request he made prior to his final episode.

Mark Harmon

Mark Harmon was born September 2, 1951, in Burbank, California. Given his parents, it was safe to assume he was destined to head towards a career in football or acting: his father, Tom Harmon, was a former football player-turned-broadcaster; his mother, Elyse Know, was an artist and actress.

Mark Harmon – early career

Harmon has acknowledged that when he was younger, he was unaware of his parents’ celebrity.

He often followed his father when he was the game broadcaster when he was younger. Years later, his father would win back his favor by watching Mark compete for the UCLA Bruins as a quarterback for two seasons.

For Mark, playing football was a real career option at that point. But his dreams were of a grander stage; he desired a career in theater or film. After his sister-in-law wed pop sensation Ricky Nelson, he started spending time with his relatives.

Ricky was acting on the sitcom The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet at the time. Later, with Nelson working on the spinoff series Ozzie’s Girls, Harmon was asked to fill in for an actor who couldn’t make it.

Mark followed Ricky around the set to see how things worked. The experience got him hooked on the profession.

“That changed my course,” he told Parade.

My first job in acting

Harmon made the decision to give up on his dream of becoming a professional football player and focus on his acting career instead.

The aspiring actor returned to school, but several of his teammates continued to play professionally and, as Harmon remembered, made more money in a single year than he did in the next fifteen combined.

After taking acting classes, he quickly got his first TV and movie parts. He even had the opportunity to collaborate with actors who later served as his mentors, like Michael Caine and Jaso Robards.

“They were all humble; they all gave me valuable time and camaraderie and advice,” he recalled.

Following his success in television shows like 240 Robert, Flamingo Road, and a few episodes of The Love Boat, Mark landed his big break as a series regular on the drama St. Elsewhere.

Producers noticed Mark’s exceptional acting abilities and gave him more roles. Then, after working in the industry for 15 to 20 years, it all got a little too much. Harmon made a decision at that point that altered the trajectory of his life.

Mark Harmon

“I was directing a lot, I was doing a movie here or there, and we had this young family that was growing up, and I was missing a lot of [family time], he said, adding that it “was not OK.”

Leroy Jethro Gibbs on ‘NCIS’

Mark was famous, but in the end, he was missing things that he wouldn’t be able to experience later in life.

“I was in the jungles of New Guinea making a not-very-good movie when my firstborn child took his first steps. No job is worth missing life’s important moments,” he said.

Harmon made the decision to pull back so he could spend more time with his loved ones. He got the script for the television series NCIS, which is centered on the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, about that time. Harmon was struck by Leroy Jethro Gibbs’s persona and his frequently humorous writing.

“For a moment, when I started getting interested in doing it, the name changed to Bob Nelson or something, and I just said, ‘Eh…please, can you put the name back,’” he recalled.

The first episode of NCIS aired in September 2003. Though it took some time for the show to become well-known, once it did, it was a huge hit.With millions of viewers each week, NCIS rose to the top of the list of television programs in the world.

Mark Harmon, NCIS

The Hollywood Reporter claims that it is currently licensed in over 200 countries and has given rise to multiple CBS spinoffs, such as NCIS: Los Angeles, NCIS: Hawaii, and NCIS: New Orleans.

“It’s hard to walk through airports”

Over its run, the program has received multiple award wins and three Primetime Emmy nominations. In addition to being nominated for multiple awards, Harmon himself won the 2017 People’s Choice Award for Favorite TV Crime Drama Actor.

Despite becoming one of the most watched television series, Harmon struggled to understand how it was all made possible.

“I don’t. You can’t. The international reach is staggering,” he told TV Insider in 2017.

“It’s hard to walk through airports even in the most out-of-the-way places without being surrounded by people who love the show—and that’s nothing to complain about. I’ve done TV shows where I walk through airports apologizing.”

Not only did Mark become one of the most, if not the most, well-known actors on the show, but it also appears that he was well-liked on set, as several of his coworkers have spoken well of him in public.

Apparently, things ended badly between him and Pauley Perrette, who plays Abby Sciuto on the show. Sean Murray, his co-star, on the other hand, was all praise for Harmon.

Mark Harmon

Sean – who appears as Timothy McGee – and his colleague have spent a lot of time together over the years, and by all accounts built up an excellent relationship.

Co-stars praise Mark Harmon

“The relationship between McGee and Gibbs has always been like that of a father-son thing, but we’ll be exploring that quite a bit and see how that’s changed and grown,” he explained of upcoming episodes.

“But for him, the bond doesn’t stop when the cameras aren’t rolling,” Sean mentioned.

“As for Mark, he’s a mentor and one of my best friends. One of the best work partners I’ve ever had. He means a tremendous amount to me. He’s got these qualities of a leader that have made the show what it is today. He’s our quarterback.”

The same was true for Harmon and David McCallum. It was a funny meeting, to say the least.

Reports state that Harmon was the one who was star struck when he first met McCallum. Together, the two made an appearance on a 2003 episode of JAG. Harmon expressed his excitement at meeting McCallum and joked that he couldn’t believe he was shaking the hand of McCallum’s well-known Man from U.N.C.L.E. character, Illya Kuryakin.

Mark Harmon, Pam Dawber

“I can’t imagine I’m shaking the hand of Illya Kuryakin,” executive producer Steven D. Binder recalled Harmon saying. For his part, McCallum had a hilarious reaction: “Good God, man, that was 40 years ago!’”

Mark has acted in 423 NCIS episodes overall. But it appears that the end is finally here. He made an appearance as Leroy Jethro Gibbs in his final episode on October 9. Kelly Kahl, president of CBS Entertainment, confirmed the information in a statement to Deadline.

“Mark’s always been part of the show, Mark’s always going to be part of the show,” he told Deadline. “In terms of his on-air appearances, we’re just going to have to see how it plays out going forward.”

Since Gary Cole joined the cast as a new series regular playing Special Agent Park, there have been constant rumors that Harmon is leaving the program.

Although Harmon is no longer with NCIS, showrunner and executive producer Steven D. Binder has opened the possibility of a future reunion.

“Our north star has always been staying true to our characters, and that truth has always guided the stories we tell and where those characters go,” he said.


“So regarding the future of Gibbs, as long-time fans of the show may have noticed over the years … never count Leroy Jethro Gibbs out.”

Harmon’s special request before ‘NCIS’ exit episode

The news that Mark Harmon was leaving NCIS surprised a lot of fans. It turns out that the respected actor preferred a low-key exit to a high-key one.

Fans were therefore taken aback because there was no prior notice that the mid-October episode would mark his character’s final farewell. Apparently, all of this was in the plan.

An insider told Entertainment Tonight that Harmon didn’t want his departure from NCIS to be unduly dramatic or dramatic. Because he believed it was “crucial — especially with social media — that any hint of a twist be omitted,” he asked that the network refrain from promoting it.

Now that Mark can spend more time with his family, only time will tell if he wants to stick with acting or pursue other career options. He already has a number of other projects in development with his Culver City, California-based production company, Wings Productions, according to multiple news sources.

Mark Harmon

That said, there might already be another career path opening up for him.

Future work as a carpenter?

In an interview with Men’s Journal, Harmon disclosed that if he hadn’t chosen to pursue acting, he probably would have become a carpenter. He even gave it a shot, but he was unable to secure employment.

“I enjoyed getting up and doing that in the morning; I enjoyed the drive to work. For me, it was about materials and doing right. If you did it right, [the project] outlasted you,” Mark Harmon said.

“I still enjoy [carpentry], but I think that’s probably what I would have been trying to do had I not been [acting].

“I took a job in an ad firm and worked there for about four years. I got a promotion to another ad-based job—a national sales rep position at a shoe company—so I was kind of a shoe salesman for about seven months.”

We will always be grateful of Mark Harmon’s outstanding work on NCIS as Leroy Jethro Gibbs. And we’ll never give up hope that he returns to the program at some point. He certainly deserves some time off to enjoy his life, though, for the time being.

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