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How NCIS is a 'big tribute' to Mark Harmon following his departure

The actor's former co-star Wilmer Valderrama honored Mark's legacy on the show


mark harmon
Beatriz Colon
Beatriz Colon - New York
New York WriterNew York
20 March 2023
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Though Mark Harmon left NCIS in the fall of 2021, after nearly twenty years on the show, his presence is still felt as the series continues past its 450th episode.

In honor of the milestone the long-running CBS show reached earlier this year, his former co-star Wilmer Valderrama couldn't help but honor the legacy his former co-star left behind.

The That 70s Show alum joined the show as Special Agent Nicholas Torres in 2016. Mark, who played Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs, joined in 2003. You can see some of his earlier roles, even before NCIS, in the video below.

WATCH: Mark Harmon shows off dancing skills in first ever TV role

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Speaking with Entertainment Tonight as the NCIS cast celebrated their 450th episode, Wilmer expressed his love and pride for the show, saying: "What NCIS has done beautifully – and I got to say, we're here on the shoulders of so many incredible actors that were here before us, actors who, some are here or some have passed, guest stars who have come and gone, and this show has seen so many careers blossom."

He added: "So you think about what this show has meant, not only for the fans, but to our industry and what it's done for us as a community of actors who are looking for that break or to be discovered."

MORE: NCIS: Hawai'i's Jason Antoon shares bittersweet photo with co-stars – fans react

Though Mark is no longer part of the cast, Wilmer acknowledged that such a milestone wouldn't have been possible without him, and he said: "It is also a big tribute to Mark Harmon, who led this beautifully for hundreds of episodes and was able to keep this boat with the integrity and the value set that it still performs today."

Mark Harmon and Wilmer Valderrama on NCIS© Photo: Getty Images

Mark and Wilmer were co-stars for five years

Not only did the West Wing actor star in a whopping 435 episodes from 2003 to 2021, he made the show possible outside of the screen too.

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Mark also served as producer on 75 episodes, and executive producer on 262. Plus, his presence on NCIS expanded across the franchise – which includes NCIS: Los Angeles and NCIS: Hawai'i – and he also both executive produced and guest starred in NCIS: New Orleans, which ran from 2014 to 2021.

Mark Harmon with his wife Pam Dawber on NCIS© Photo: Getty Images

Even the actor's wife, Pam Dawber, made an appearance on NCIS

Since exiting the show, Mark has yet to appear in other television series or movies, though he still produces varying projects through his production company Wings Productions, which he started in 2014.

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