Mark Harmon, a pivotal figure in the success of “NCIS,” shared insights into a significant improvement that contributed to the show’s development. When Harmon joined the series, the show was still finding its footing, and one notable change was the introduction of scripts written as the show progressed.

Initially, NCIS struggled with ratings, only gaining commercial traction in its third season when it was sold to the USA Network. Harmon, in an interview with Larry King, revealed that during the early seasons, the show operated without a script until later in the season. Actors had limited information, receiving pages and sides, and scenes were delivered piecemeal.

Harmon emphasized the trust and collaboration among the cast, allowing for both scripted and spontaneous moments. The flexibility and openness to exploration made the show unique and contributed to its success in the procedural drama genre.

The iconic “Gibbs Slap,” a trademark of Harmon’s character, originated as an unscripted incident. During a scene on a Navy ship with co-star Michael Weatherly, Harmon impulsively delivered the first Gibbs Slap, setting the precedent for this memorable aspect of the character.

By chrysos