A steely gray seriousness in a dapper suit with a tall demeanour is the visual that comes to mind at the thought of an American law enforcement agent. Part of the reason why that has become the global recall image is Hollywood actor Mark Harmon.
The 59-year-old, who plays Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs in CBS crime drama NCIS, has fractured the imagination of every prime-time-crime-drama-watching-couch-potato across the world. The series that is currently in its eight season in the US premiers in India tonight. And Harmon is excited.
“I have never been to India, but my wife has. If the show catches on, I would love to come down,” says Harmon, who has been playing the character for almost a decade. And according to him, it has changed his life.
“The show began as a story of four characters. It isn’t your average crime drama series, but we have always thought of it as a story about the characters and not about the crime. There’s also a lot of humour, maybe that’s why it has been doing well internationally. We have shot 175 episodes and our writers are always brimming with new ideas,” says Harmon, adding that the unique cast of Sasha Alexander, Cote de Pablo, David Mc Callum and Michael Weatherly, has ensured the success of the show.
“The show rose higher and quicker internationally than it did in the US. I think a lot has to do with the freshness it brought in the early 2000s,” says Harmon. Although he is a co-producer on the show, Harmon doesn’t feel his title has changed his job as an actor. “We all take collective decisions on the content. No one’s role is bigger or smaller, and maybe that is why we are a model show.”
Harmon feels it’s his reel time identity, Gibbs’s flaws that have made the character famous. “He is flawed, playing someone who has faults is always interesting. He makes mistakes and yet, gets aggressive. He is a good hunting dog. His life at home is different. He has a damaged past. It really captures human imagination,” says the multi-award winner.
The former college quarterback became an actor in college. “I got really interested in the art during drama school. I thought I’d give it a shot,” says Harmon whose father was a footballer and mother an actor.