Movies & TV

Michael Weatherly Thought Mark Harmon Would Never Leave NCIS: ‘He is the Show Itself’

Actor Opens Up About His Surprise Over Harmon's Exit

NCIS: End of an Era for Agent Gibbs

Fans were shocked by Mark Harmon‘s departure from the long-running series NCIS. Leroy Gibbs, the character he portrayed, was practically synonymous with the show. Michael Weatherly, who played Tony DiNozzo alongside Harmon for many seasons, shared this sentiment.

Weatherly: “Mark Harmon is NCIS”

The show had teased audiences with Gibbs’ potential exit before. However, Weatherly never truly believed the character would be killed off or that Harmon would leave. He pointed out that Harmon’s role as executive producer on the spin-off “NCIS: New Orleans” further solidified his commitment to the franchise.


In a resurfaced interview, Weatherly acknowledged the show’s ability to surprise, but emphasized his belief in Harmon’s irreplaceable role:

“Anything can happen in NCIS, but there’s one exception: anything happening to Gibbs. We worried when they blew him up in Season 3, just like with Sasha in Season 2. But by Season 9, Mark’s the executive producer of NCIS: New Orleans. He’s not going anywhere. Maybe I’m just a jaded TV veteran, but I think Mark Harmon is here to stay and break records, rivaling even Mariska Hargitay’s success.”*

For Weatherly, Harmon wasn’t just the star; he was the foundation of the show.

“Anyone who’s realistic understands Mark Harmon is the NCIS franchise.”

Harmon: Sharing the Credit

Despite being the lead, Harmon never took sole credit for NCIS’s success. He acknowledged the talented cast and crew who contributed significantly throughout the show’s run.

“Our success is earned by everyone involved,” Harmon once said. “I’m not the big dog. There are a lot of dogs.”


Harmon’s Post-Departure Role

Even after leaving as a series regular, Harmon retained influence as an executive producer. He explained the shift in his role to Parade magazine:

“Before, I’d read scripts, give notes, and be very involved. Now, things change – people move on, the show evolves. I don’t know how much they listen to my input anymore, but they’re keeping the show going, and that’s what matters.”

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