For the First Time: Mark Harmon Opens Up About Son Sean’s Role in NCIS Legacy

    Mark Harmon has officially marked his 400th episode as Leroy Jethro Gibbs on NCIS. Since the pilot aired in 2003, Harmon has been the backbone of the series, not only as the lead actor but also as an executive producer.

    A Journey Through Time

    To celebrate this landmark episode, the show took a nostalgic trip back in time. Airing at the end of November, the 400th episode titled “Everything Starts Somewhere” delighted fans by depicting how Gibbs first met Donald “Ducky” Mallard, played by David McCallum.

    Adding to the significance, Harmon’s son, Sean Harmon, portrayed a young Gibbs, making the event a family affair.
    “There’s pride involved,” Harmon admitted, reflecting on Sean’s role in the series’ history. The episode, set in 1980, revisits a pivotal case that brought Gibbs and Ducky together. The flashbacks show young Gibbs and Ducky navigating a crime scene involving a civilian accountant with LEOPARD syndrome, a car accident, and a connection to the notorious Zucado crime family.

    The Genesis of Gibbs and Ducky’s Bond

    In this episode, fans witness how Gibbs and Ducky’s bond was forged under unusual circumstances. Driving on the wrong side of the road, a young Ducky inadvertently saves Gibbs’s life. To repay him, Gibbs buys Ducky a drink every night for three days. This chance encounter sparks a lifelong friendship, highlighted by Ducky’s parting words, “You’re a terrific man, and I hope we run into each other again.

    Behind the Scenes

    Mark Harmon has been integral to NCIS since its inception, shaping the show’s direction alongside co-showrunner Steven Binder. Harmon spoke to Entertainment Tonight about the significance of the 400th episode, emphasizing its special appeal to long-time fans. “So much of what I do here is dependent on getting a script, reading it, and then attempting to approach it as a script,” Harmon said, underlining the collaborative effort involved in bringing such milestone episodes to life.

    A Family Affair

    Sean Harmon’s involvement in the series dates back to season 6, where he has played young Gibbs in multiple episodes. Mark Harmon fondly recalled Sean’s audition for the role, which took place right after high school. “Can he come in and read?” director Tony Wharmby had asked, leading to Sean securing the part through his own merit.

    Mark Harmon expressed pride in his son’s professionalism and dedication. “I’m proud of both our guys, and they work hard at what they do,” he said, highlighting the work ethic instilled in his sons. Harmon’s wife, actress Pam Dawber, shares in this pride, particularly regarding Sean’s portrayal of a younger Gibbs.

    Looking Ahead

    As the NCIS universe continues to evolve, Harmon’s legacy as Gibbs remains a cornerstone of the show’s success.

    His commitment to the series and the familial connections both on and off screen underscore the unique dynamic that has captivated audiences for over two decades.

    Harmon’s milestone is not just a testament to his enduring talent but also to the collective efforts of the NCIS family, who together have created a television legacy that continues to thrive.

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