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Creator / Mark Harmon

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"It's a lot easier to do good work when you have good words to say and work with good people."

Thomas Mark Harmon (born September 2, 1951 in Burbank, California) is an American television, film, and stage actor.

With an athletic fathernote  and an actress mother, it is no surprise that he played college football and has found success as one of TV's hunkiest actors. While most of his roles have relied on little more than good looks, Harmon was impressive as the suave doctor Bobby Caldwell on St. Elsewhere who contracted AIDS.

He has starred in NCIS as Special Agent Jethro Gibbs since 2003 and is also an executive producer on both NCIS and NCIS: New Orleans. Also, until season 19, Mark is the only actor to appear in every NCIS episode. As of October 2021, he no longer make appearances on NCIS although he remains as producer.


He lives in Los Angeles with his wife Pam Dawber (of Mork & Mindy fame), whom he married in 1987.


Tropes relating to his work:

  • Badass in Charge: ...who is usually The Leader.
  • Badass Longcoat: ...who often wears trench coats.
  • Born in the Wrong Century : Averted. According to one Facebook comment, Harmon actually uses an iPhone, instead of the flip phone like his TV character Gibbs obviously had. Plus, he's even more tech-savvy than Gibbs.
  • Cool Old Guy: ...continuously even after he reached his 60s.
  • Dope Slap: The modern codifier on NCIS thanks to Gibbs frequently slapping DiNozzo upside the head. So much so that it's called the "Gibbs slap" in some circles. This eventually had to be toned down because people were running up to Michael Weatherly and smacking him in public.
  • Enforced Method Acting: Deliberately went without sleep while filming The Deliberate Stranger so as to get himself into Ted Bundy's frame of mind and even wanted to go to Bundy's prison to talk with him before the director put his foot down and refused to allow it.
  • Executive Meddling: He invoked it on NCIS after he got fed up with how Donald Bellisario's iron-fisted control of the production was exhausting the cast and crew. He went to CBS executives and threatened to leave the show if they didn't do something about it, which resulted in Shane Brennan taking over as showrunner.
  • A Father to His Men: Aside from the fact that Gibbs is fiercely protective of his team, Mark is also a guiding force behind the scenes of NCIS. It was he who took a stand against Donald Bellisario's control freak nature and got the show under new management so that scripts would be delivered on time and the cast and crew didn't have to work 16 hour days anymore.
  • Humble Hero: He is quick to deflect any praise towards him, saying that his successes are wholly attributable to being able to work alongside talented people. One notable example is how he credits the enduring legacy of the Gibbs Slap to Michael Weatherly's ability to stay in character and build off of the initial shock of being slapped for real during a take. He even uses a small Airstream trailer that he personally restored on set, saying that the deluxe trailer originally provided to him was simply too much.
    • In January 1996, he pulled two teenage boys from a burning car. Despite the unanimous opinion that his actions saved their lives—emphatically stated by one of the victims himself—he doesn't like discussing the incident and gives most of the credit to his wife for alerting him to the accident and calling 911.
      "I won't take credit for it because if the car blows up and I'm standing there next to the car you're talking about two boys who don't have a father and you'd be doing this interview with my wife talking about how stupid it was."
    • Related to the "Shame" post, he seems to find his Sexiest Man Alive title more amusing than anything else.
  • Mr. Fanservice: His earlier roles tend to be Pretty Boy characters that were inserted mainly for eye-candy.
  • Older Than They Look: Would you believe he's pushing 70? Fans are often stunned to discover Harmon appears in TV shows dating back over 40 years - his TV acting debut was in 1973.
  • Old Shame: Isn't particularly proud of having been named People's Sexiest Man Alive, considering it nothing more than an odd moment in his life. He poked fun at his sex symbol status when he hosted SNL in 1987.
    • While not necessarily ashamed, he's stated "I was glad when I could put it behind me when it was done", referring to the Bundy role, indicating that it unnerved him to play such a psychopath.
  • Playing Against Type: His absolutely bone-chilling performances as Serial Killer Ted Bundy and murderer Thomas Capano in two separate miniseries. Some critics have deemed one or the other or both as among his best work—a review of the second miniseries describes him as "all evil".
  • Rated M for Manly: Thanks to portraying badass characters.
  • Real-Life Relative: His son portrays the younger version of Gibbs in NCIS.
  • Reality Subtext: He was initially a pre-med student in college and likes to joke that he decided that playing a doctor (as he's frequently done) would be easier and more fun than being a real one.
  • Silver Fox: He let his hair go gradually gray, which eventually gave him one of the most striking looks on American television.
  • Typecasting:
    • He's spent much of his career portraying law enforcement and medical personnel. They're always badass too and often Reasonable Authority Figure characters.
    • Watching him in the movie Summer School as a laid back cool teacher is probably jarring to those used to his later hardass roles.
    • He also spent a good chunk of his career being considered a Mr. Fanservice actor. Donald Bellisario almost didn't consider him for the role of Gibbs on NCIS because of that reputation and only changed his mind when he saw Harmon's guest stint on The West Wing and realized that Harmon had aged gracefully and had the acting chops to not have to rely on good looks.


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