‘NCIS’ Star Rocky Carroll Revealed What It’s Like to Direct Mark Harmon

by Amy Myers
Photo: CBS ©2021 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Following the departure of Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs from the NCIS main storyline, co-star Rocky Carroll discussed how different his experience with Mark Harmon is now that their roles have changed. Carroll, himself, has adopted a more senior role, trading some of his screen time as Leon Vance for a chance to direct some of the show’s upcoming episodes.

While the sudden change in roles has taken many fans by surprise, Carroll’s directorial experience with Harmon has proved to be a step in the right direction for NCIS.

“For the first time in about 14 years, Mark Harmon gets to play another character other than Gibbs on the show,” Carroll told Parade. “He goes in deep cover as this anti-government radical to find a killer and solve a crime. So he actually gets to go and play a character. I got to direct Mark not only as Gibbs but also as this other character, so it was a lot of fun.”

‘NCIS’ Star Harmon Is Just As Excited As Carroll About the New Role

It seems from Carroll’s analysis that we’ll see the fan-favorite character in a whole new light. And from the new director’s perspective, Harmon couldn’t be happier to branch out from his usual character.

“It’s a brand-new show, it’s a nice infusion of energy and I think Mark Harmon, out of all people, loves it more than anybody,” Carroll said of the NCIS star. “You have new characters to play, new people to talk to, and new storylines. So I love it. Change is tough for people.”

In fact, Carroll shared that fans of the show even needed an adjustment period when he became the director.

“When I came on the show, even though there had already been two other actors who had done the role of director, the audience took a while to adjust to it. So I think having three people is a real shock to a lot of the diehard fans, but it seems like the response has been really positive.”

‘Never Count Leroy Jethro Gibbs Out’

Back in October, when Harmon first left the show, NCIS showrunners made it clear that this was not the last we would see of Agent Gibbs. Not only will he continue as an executive producer, but he would also continue to be an inspiration to the current stars of the show.

Just as importantly, when Gibbs stayed in Alaska during his final episode, there was no dramatic goodbye. Instead, the producers purposely left his storyline open for the future.

 “So regarding the future of Gibbs,” showrunner Steve Binder said, “as long-time fans of [NCIS] may have noticed over the years… never count Leroy Jethro Gibbs out.”