‘NCIS’: How Mark Harmon Handles Being an Executive Producer of the Series

by Joe Rutland

Actor Mark Harmon has been on “NCIS” since its start on CBS in 2003. One might wonder how he handles executive producer duties, too.

“To me, nothing different than day one,” Harmon said in an interview with late talk-show host Larry King in 2014. “Title changes.”

“But you have more input, don’t you?” King asked.

“I think my input is about the same,” Harmon replied. “I think everybody has the same amount of input on this show. The door’s always been open for people to speak their mind and say what they feel.”

King asked if actors can come to him and question their lines or scenes.

“You can say that,” Harmon, who plays Leroy Jethro Gibbs on “NCIS,” replied. “How you say that matters. I don’t think you say ‘I just hate what you just wrote.’ I think what you say is ‘Is there a different way to talk about this’ or ‘Can I hear your point of view on this?'”

Harmon has appeared in all 414 episodes of the CBS crime drama. David McCallum, who plays Donald “Duckey” Mallard, also has been in every “NCIS” episode, too. Classic TV fans also know McCallum from his role on the 1960s spy series “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” alongside Robert Vaughn.

‘NCIS’ Would Do Episodes Without Scripts For A Period Of Time

Viewers probably know TV shows use scripts all the time. Scripts are used for stage and screen performances, too. No show could get away without using one, right?

Don’t tell Harmon and “NCIS” that because, for a period of time, that’s what they didn’t use.

“We used to not have them (scripts),” he told King. “For four years we did a show without a script. We had no full script.”

Harmon said there were sides, pages, you read as actors. So, why go to a full-script format? The actor/executive producer said everything changed, including actors on the show.

“We changed the way the show is done and how we do it and the people involved in it,” he shared. “We’ve had changes in front of the camera, behind the camera. I think we’ve managed to get better by that.”

“NCIS” has produced spinoffs for CBS, too. It, though, still has a place in the network’s lineup heading into next season. “NCIS: Los Angeles” started on CBS in 2009 and is still on the air. “NCIS: New Orleans” started in 2014 and just finished its final season on the air. A new spinoff called “NCIS: Hawai’i” starts up later this year.

“NCIS: Los Angeles” stars Chris O’Donnell and LL Cool J. “NCIS: Hawai’i” will star Vanessa Lachey and Yasmine Al-Bustami. As for “NCIS: New Orleans,” Scott Bakula led that elite unite for seven seasons.