Go Behind the Scenes of ‘NCIS’ With Mark Harmon and the Cast (PHOTOS)

Behind the Scenes on NCIS
Monty Brinton/CBS; Sonja Flemming/CBS; Jaimie Trueblood/CBS via Getty Images

This is an excerpt from TV Guide Magazine’s Gibbs Forever Special Collector’s Edition, available for order online now at NCISMag.com and for purchase on newsstands nationwide.

We did a little investigating of our own to find out about life on set for Mark Harmon (who played Leroy Jethro Gibbs until his on-screen exit from NCIS in Season 19 Episode 4) and our favorite cast.

Take a peek into the case file by scrolling down for the behind-the-scenes photos, along with insight into a few of the episodes and filming.

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Mark Harmon - Behind-the-scenes filming of Sins of the Father episode of NCIS
Monty Brinton/CBS

Harmon (on set in 2011) gives 100 percent on the job—always has. “Whatever I did as an athlete, a student, an actor, I worked at it,” he says. “I love going to work. I believe in putting in the time.”

NCIS - Wide Awake - Mark Harmon and Camryn Grimes
Sonja Flemming/CBS

In Season 17, Gibbs gets a new neighbor, Sarah (Louise Barnes)—and really connects with the single mom’s 9-year-old son (Jack Fisher). “Playing that was fun,” Harmon recalls. “I’ve always thought there is a part of Gibbs that is still a kid.” (Too bad Sarah is also a secret terrorist.)

Pauley Perrette and Mark Harmon - behind the scenes at NCIS
Richard Foreman/CBS

“Abby is the only one who can crack back with him, like ‘Gibbs, you’re being crabby,’” says Pauley Perrette, who played the lab rat from 2003 to 2018. “No one else would be allowed to.” Here, she and Harmon shoot Season 9’s “Restless.”

Sonja Flemming/CBS

A sweet way to celebrate 150 episodes! From left, in 2009: Rocky Carroll, David McCallum, Cote de Pablo, Harmon, Sean Murray, Perrette, Michael Weatherly and sometime guest star Robert Wagner.

Sonja Flemming/CBS

Gibbs takes action in front of a hotel in the Season 9 premiere, “Nature of the Beast.” (From far left: Matt Craven and Bryan Friday.) Harmon based aspects of the character on real-life NCIS agent Richard Warmack.

Mark Harmon as NCIS Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs, Emily Wickersham as NCIS Special Agent Ellie Bishop
Eddy Chen/CBS

Harmon and Emily Wickersham, aka NCIS Special Agent Ellie Bishop from 2013 to 2021, consult on Season 17’s “In a Nutshell.” Gibbs looked out for Bishop, to the point of destroying one of his all-important rules for her!

Jaimie Trueblood/CBS via Getty Images

Typical day making an episode (here, Season 9’s “Rekindled”)? “You open the stage door and there’s a train going a thousand miles an hour,” Harmon says. “You just have to grab on.

Cliff Lipson/CBS

Junior Special Agent Tim McGee is at Gibbs’ side for Season 8’s “A Man Walks Into a Bar…”—and nearly 11 years later, he’s the seasoned special agent at Gibbs’ side when he announces he is retiring to Alaska.

Michael Yarish/CBS

Christopher Lloyd’s moving appearance as a Pearl Harbor survivor in Season 17’s “The Arizona”—a role written with the Emmy winner in mind—elicits some startlingly personal admissions from Gibbs. “Sometimes someone else opening up about their experience makes it OK for that person to address their feelings,” Harmon says. “Once Gibbs gets to the truth, he doesn’t quit.”

Sonja Flemming/CBS

Per Harmon, Gibbs sees most things “through the crosshairs of a scope.” For real: In Season 18’s “Head of the Snake,” the expert sniper actually shot McGee in the leg to prevent him from approaching a plane that’s about to explode.

Monty Brinton/CBS

It’s hard to look at Harmon or Wagner, who’s logged 13 episodes as Anthony DiNozzo Sr., in Season 9’s “Sins of the Father” against those orange Bullpen walls! The series’ 400th episode in 2020 shows their origin—and the part they played in a crime—back when Gibbs met McCallum’s Donald “Ducky” Mallard decades earlier.