28 Facts We've Learned Behind The Scenes Of NCIS

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28 Facts We've Learned Behind The Scenes Of NCIS

NCIS is one of the longest running and most watched TV shows in history. After more than a dozen years of quality entertainment, it's time to blow the lid off of some behind the scenes aspects of the show that even some series experts never knew.

The Fan Base Loves With Mark Harmon

Mark Harmon has been known to wear shirts that are sent to him by his fans. He prides himself in his collection of fan sent authentic vintage Marine Corps and NIS/NCIS attire, which he wears around all the time in his free time. Who can blame him for wanting his clothes picked out for him.

Donald Bellisario Relied on His Real Experience

Show creator Don Bellisario relied heavily on his past experience when he wrote the show. He serves in the US Marine Corps as a Gunnery Seargent. The Marine Corp ethos and knowledge of Marine methodology presented in the show all stem from his real life experience.

Many of the protagonists in his shows are current or former members of the armed forces. This is true in Magnum PI, JAG and NCIS. He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2004.

Sasha Alexander Couldn't Stand the Heat

Alexander played Caitilin Todd for the first two seasons of NCIS. She eventually left the show because she just couldn't bear the demands of filming. She didn’t realize the amount of stamina necessary for the show.

Belllisario stated that this was partially due to her never appearing as a regular on a hit show. She never expected to be working so constantly.  Sometimes the work day would extend beyond 16 hours.

Michael Weatherly's Father Disowned Him

Weatherly’s success is truly the product of his hard work. Although he came from wealth, he was cut off from his inheritance at the age of 12, when he decided to pursue acting.

Fortunately for him, he would make a name for himself within the NCIS universe. As Tony DiNozzo, he would become a star in his own right. He is one of two actors to appear in all 4 NCIS related series.

Pauley Perrette Actually Comes From Forensics

Pauley Perrette plays Abbys the forensic specialist on the show. Playing the role wasn't a big stretch for her, as she received her masters degree in forensics from John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

While in New York for her masters, she dabbled in acting on the side. It was during this time she landed her role on NCIS. Producers have said that most of the quirks and interests displayed by Abby come from Perrette just playing herself.

Mark Harmon is a Craftsman

Harmon uses his own real life hobbies to add depth to his character. The hand tools that Harmon uses on set are mostly his own. He uses them in his personal workshop and doesn’t mind lending them for props as well.

He picked up skills as a carpenter during a summer job in high school. After casually mentioning that he helped a neighbor build a plane, they decided to add the trait to his character’s personality. On the show, Gibbs builds boats in his basement, a skill that Harmon himself does not actually have.

Harmon's Son Makes an Appearance

The show has a tendency to use flashbacks. When it seems like you are seeing a younger version of Harmon, your eyes are not playing a trick on you. It is actually his son.

The younger Gibbs in fact played by Harmon’s son Sean. He has appeared in six episodes. Harmon is married to actress Pam Dawber and has another son too.

The Washington DC Scenery is Changed to be More Appealing

Although NCIS is set in Washington DC, it is actually filmed in Santa Clarita. One geographical innaccuracy is that Washington Navy Yard is actually a considerable distance from the famous DC buildings.

The choice to make them seem close was deliberate. Set designers chose to put them in view of the squad room to make it more appealing. The actual view would be significantly drearier. This way, the office can be seen as part of DC’s hustle and bustle.

Bellisario Voiced the Cutaways

The sound heard at the beginning and end of each act is called a ‘Foof’, and it was invented by show creator Don Bellisario, who also makes the noise. It made its first appearance in season 2.

It has since appeared in every episode. It is considered unique in the extended NCIS universe as it is the only show to include the foof. Bellisario makes the noise by hitting a microphone with his hand. It just happens to sound like a light bulb exploding.

The Spine of the Show

Mark Harmon is the clearly the right leading man for the show. When rumors began spreading on his departure, it shook the cast. Michael Weatherly description bred a new nickname for him.

Weatherly said, “He’s The Spine of the show. Without him it’s a show about jellyfish. We need our spine.” He continues to work on the show to this day. NCIS is still one of the most watched shows on TV as they retained their spine.

Mark Harmon Was Almost Skipped Over

Donald Bellisario was not sure Harmon would be a good fit for Gibbs. It took an exception guest arc on The West Wing to convince him, and it took him about a minute to convince us too.

Harmon played Secret Service Agent Simon Donovan for four episodes. He received an Emmy nomination for his work. His role and temperament in both The West Wing and NCIS are very similar.

The Jessica Alba Connection

Although she never appeared in an episode of NCIS, Jessica Alba has built a small niche for herself in NCSI-lore.

Michael Weatherly’s character once states: “I’ve got a better chance of hooking up with Jessica Alba than these guys do of infiltrating SeaLift.” While filming Dark Angel, Weatherly and Alba began a relationship. They were engaged in 2001. Unfortunately they ended their relationship and engagement in 2003.

Abby's Locket is More Than a Prop

The cast has introduced many little bits of their real life into their characters. For instance, in the episode ‘Enemy on the Hill’ Abbey is seen holding a locket of adoptive mother.

The photo is actually of her family, specifically, her real mother, Donna Bell. Perrette manages a bake shop named for her late mother, located in Manhattan.

Mark Harmon's Earlier Work is Referenced

Mark Harmon was a superstar even before NCIS. In the first couple seasons, NCIS decided to pay tribute to its’ star’s past work. They included a clip from one of his films in the opening credits.

The clip comes from the opening credits of Presidio and shows an aircraft carrier traveling under the Golden Gate Bridge. The came out in 1988 and starred Harmon as a San Francisco police inspector. He investigates a murder at the Presidio army base in San Francisco.

Which Character is Named After the Creator's Family?

Donald Bellisario had some fun in naming his characters.  In one instance, he used his family for inspiration. Leroy Jethro is a combination of Bellisario’s family members’ names.

His brother is named Leroy and his Father’s middle name is Jethro. Bellisario clearly understood the value of digging into your own experiences. Naturally he saved his family names for his lead actor.