4:20PM: When asked about the longevity of his show that is scheduled to celebrate its 200th episode on February 7th, star Mark Harmon kicks off the Television Critics Association Press Tour panel by claiming that, “from the beginning we were a show that wasn’t good enough to get all that notice and wasn’t bad enough to get cancelled.” Adds current showrunner and executive producer Gary Glasberg. “To be 9 years into a show and still have so much to work with is a real comment on what Don [Creator Donald P. Bellisario] came up with.”
4:22PM: For his part, Michael Weatherly credits the writers for keeping things fresh as NCIS heads towards an astounding 200 episodes, “In one episode I get to do crazy physical humor, an interrogation scene, kiss the girl! All these things are because the writers set up these fantastic scenarios that try as I can I can never get ahead of. Some shows you ‘hit your mark and bark,’ show up and reflect the light. This show is always growing and searching.” Adds Glasberg on the general awesomeness that is Michael Weatherly, “We can pitch him just about anything and he’ll find a way to make it work for himself.”
4:25PM: “Part of what keeps this show alive and fresh is that we all love our show and that’s such a big deal,” admits Pauley Perrette when asked about what exactly keeps her excited to go into work after 9 years of playing the same character. “We all love our show and that’s such big deal. To be able to bring such a sense of gratefulness and joy to the set, we’re fans of our own show and that’s big.”
4:26PM: “Finding the back of Weatherly’s head and hitting it!” jokes Harmon when asked what keeps him excited to go into work. “It remains fresh, we just celebrated 200 episodes and it doesn’t feel like 200 episode and 9 years. There are things on this show more important than the size of your trailer. On this show it’s about the work and I think everyone would agree that these writers continue to challenge us with new stuff all the time. We just did the 200th episode and that was as challenging as any episodes we have ever done.”
4:29PM: On what fans can expect from NCIS’ 200th episode, Glasberg teases, “As far back as last summer I sort of had a sense of what I wanted the episode to be and it very much is about a pivotal moment that Gibbs faces. It literally looks back at key moments throughout 9 seasons of NCIS where decisions were made and how the world might have ended up had people gone in a different direction. Additionally, the episode will bring back familiar faces that fans might not have thought they’d ever see again. It was a lot of fun, challenging and I’m very excited to see it put together.”
4:31PM: When asked what appeals to Mark Harmon in terms of television as a medium, Harmon sights the work ethic. “I understand this [pointing to his cast sharing the stage with him], the team concept, the quickness and the fact that you can — if you’re lucky and fortunate enough to have what this show is — a gathering of individuals both in front and behind the camera who appreciate this show so much.”
4:32PM: Fun Fact: David McCallum’s family calls him Dr. Dave, admits the actor, “I have yards of books on the subject of death, I’m a virtual pathologist.” Another Fun Fact: The writers have an open communication with the actual NCIS in Washington to ground stories and connect the dots.
4:35PM: “Regardless of the amount of technology, if you’re not telling good stories you don’t last for 9 seasons,” says Rocky Carroll. “People like good stories since the early days of man. This show infuses good stories with a great deal of character and humor and I think that’s what I attribute the popularity of the show to.”
4:39PM: Can NCIS break GUNSMOKE’s 20 seasons on the air? “I get asked how much longer do I think it will go a lot,” admits Glasberg. “And sitting in the writer’s room there is never a shortage of ideas. Those ideas are still coming and they’re still fresh. The minute anyone begins to sense that change I’ll have an answer.”
4:40PM: So just what does Harmon think of his real-life son Sean playing a younger version of Gibbs. “I’m proud of him doing his homework and getting an opportunity that he earned.” says Harmon. “On the other hand, I think the only set he’s been on is this one, which is not like every other set. This is a gracious place to work and while I’m happy that he has had this opportunity we will see what what he does from here.”
4:46PM: In teasing the upcoming February 7th 200th episode of NCIS Glasberg ends this NCIS panel by showing the episode’s opening scene. Lights… Camera… Spoilers! The scene opens with Harmon bellying up to the bar for a cup of coffee with a friendly waitress at an old fashioned diner. Until that is their witty banter is interrupted by an extremely loud gunshot… to the chest… fade to white.
NCIS airs Tuesdays at 8PM on CBS (Global TV in Canada)