‘NCIS’ Star Mark Harmon Revealed the Secret to the Show’s Enduring Success in 2019 Interview

by Anna Dunn

Mark Harmon, star of NCIS once revealed why he thought the show was so successful for so many years. NCIS first aired in 2003, yet it’s now the highest-rated scripted drama on broadcast television. So what, exactly, makes it stand out from the crowd?

“[It’s] the most popular drama in the world,” Stephen Colbert told Mark Harmon in a 2019 interview, “Please don’t ever stop doing that show because my lead-in on Tuesdays is fantastic.” Colbert went on to say that its incredible how long the show has lasted.

“Just the other night, Stephen we were out in Hollywood working late and we all got together and went to dinner,” Harmon told Colbert. “You’ve got a bunch of people there who love their job. And there’s a responsibility there. There has been for a number of years. You work with these people every day. And [the show] only works when people want to be there.”

For Harmon, the key to the success of NCIS isn’t some complex thing to do with the plot or his character, it’s the people that make the show work. It’s been successful, in his mind, because there’s true passion behind it. Harmon’s made similar statements before, giving all the credit where credit is due.

Mark Harmon Finally got To Work with His Wife in Season 18

While Mark Harmon took on a more reduced role in the recent NCIS season, Gibbs’ storyline certaintly made an impact. The season found Gibbs chasing after a suspected serial killer with a fiery investigative journalist, Marcie Warren. Warren is played by Harmon’s wife.

Harmon’s wife is Pam Dawber, whose forged a very impressive acting career on her own. You’d likely recognize her from Mork & Mindy, the Happy Days spinoff where she starred alongside Robin Williams. Just like the rest of the cast and crew, Dawber went on NCIS because she genuinely wanted to.

Dawber has actually turned down multiple offers from NCIS in the past. But Marcie Warren felt different to her. Now, she gets the opportunity to work alongside her husband.

“They have come at me a few times,” she said of the NCIS producers in an Entertainment Weekly interview. “Either I just didn’t want to do it or I didn’t appreciate what it was they wanted me to do. Or it was near Christmas and it was like, ‘I can’t do this. I’ve got my parents coming into town.’ I just haven’t been interested in, you know, chasing the business. At this age, that’s what you do. You’d have to really want it.

Thankfully for NCIS fans, she did this time. Hopefully, Marcie Warren will return alongside Jethro Gibbs next season. Mark Harmon will reportedly be in a very limited number of episodes, so we’ll have to keep our fingers crossed. NCIS returns this fall on CBS.