NCIS premiered in 2003 on CBS, after the show’s main characters appeared in a backdoor episode of the JAG Naval Justice series, a show that was also the brainchild of Donald P. Bellisario, and that culminated almost two years after the premiere of the crime drama starring Mark Harmon as Leroy Gibbs.
Harmon stayed on NCIS for 18 seasons, saying goodbye to fans after the fourth episode of the nineteenth installment. However, he remains as executive producer, a role he assumed from the beginning of the series. For many, the actor’s departure was not a surprise, since from before the premiere of the current season, rumors indicated that he would only return with his role for a handful of episodes.
What NCIS fans probably did not know is that Mark Harmon was about to leave the CBS series during the fourth season, due to a behind-the-scenes problem with the series in which the executive producer and creator of the drama was also involved. , Donald P. Belisario.
Ever since NCIS first aired, Harmon has remained consistent with his role as Leroy Gibbs, the leader of the special agent team. But when season 4 rolled around, the drama’s main star was determined to leave the set as a result of tensions with the show’s creator and showrunner, Donald Bellisario. All of this was due to the actor’s disagreements regarding the deadlines and working hours set for the production. This claimed a source close at the time:
“Mark has been working every day, 16 hours a day. Don tries to micromanage everything. The script pages are faxed to set at the last minute, and Mark is tired of dealing with the huge impact it has on his life.” .
In this sense, the CBS chain was forced to intervene to make the decision and choose who would stay at NCIS, Mark Harmon or Donald Bellisario. As is known, the choice was in favor of the interpreter of Leroy Gibbs, and therefore the creator of the series was fired from the program, but he remained in the network producing other series.
The problem that originated on the set of NCIS, spread after Bellisario’s departure. The producer of the drama spoke at the time to the Los Angeles Times alleging that Harmon was behind “a full-blown public relations campaign” with the purpose of forcing him to leave the program he created.
Bellisario held Harmon responsible for orchestrating the leaks to the dam in which the poor working conditions were revealed on the set of NCIS, and in this way causing his dismissal, while explaining that he had asked the star to re-record a scene, but he remade it in the same way that he had done it before and that he never spoke to him again. However, Harmon did not assume it and therefore implied that the expulsion was the fault of the producer himself. This is what the NCIS actor said after the abrupt exit in 2007:
“If we are now working 14 hours a day instead of the 17 or 18 hour days we were doing, it does not mean that we are working less hard. Simply more organized. This has become a very well oiled machine. I do not wish to confront Bellisario in the press. . . . He knows why he left. “