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March 03, 2010

Mark Harmon and NCIS family discuss cast camraderie and show success at PaleyFest 2010

Night three of the PaleyFest 2010 continued with the CBS hit series NCIS. Now in its 7th season, the show is more popular than ever and is currently the highest-rated scripted series on the air.

Seen all-over the world, the drama about fictional special agents from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, is known for its compelling stories The show is also extremely popular for on-screen relationships of the characters and the clever use of flashbacks to lay insight into who these characters are, not only from watching their day to day interactions with each other but also from seeing their past.

Moderated by Entertainment Tonight reporter, Kevin Fraizer, members of the show attended the panel discussion and Q&A, including cast members Mark Harmon, Michael Weatherly, David McCallum, Sean Murray, Cote de Pablo, Brian Dietzen and Rocky Carroll, along with the shows executive producers, Mark Horowitz, Charles Johnson and Gary Glassberg. Noticeably absent was Pauley Perrette who was doing a photo shoot in Paris.

The evening started off with a retro clip of a scene from The Man From U.N.C.L.E. as a nod to cast member David McCallum. McCallum played on the iconic series in the 60s. Audience members were really into the scene as they are truly fans of both shows. McCallum noted that he was so happy to still be working in the business and enjoying what he does after all these years.

The audience was also treated to a special advance screening of the episode entitled, “Mother’s Day,” the night before its broadcast run on CBS. The show is perfect viewing on a large screen and received a great response from the audience.

“Everyone responded to it and laughed in the right places”, said Carroll in commenting on the audience watching the episode later during the panel discussion.

NCIS has its share of die-hard fans and it was very evident. When cast members were asked to name their favorite episodes, many of the audience members were helping then with the episode titles and remembering certain storylines from the show. When de Paulo mentioned her favorite scene in which Ziva is along Gibbs bedside in the coma, an audience member tells her the name.

When asked about the relationships of certain characters, and the possible “Tiva” romance (the couple name for a Tony and Tiva) pairing, Fraiser asks of the two agents would ever get together, de Pablo, who plays Tiva, notes that it’s good to keep the sexual tension going so that if and when it happens, it would be so much better.

Harmon and Weatherly discuss the relationship between Gibbs and Tony DiNozzo, Harmon who plays Gibbs said that he has a tough relationship with Tony because his is grooming the team to be the best and his prepping the next leader of a NCIS unit which would obviously DiNozzo. Weatherly adds the differences between Harmon and Gibbs saying that Harmon is nicer than his on-screen alter-ego, which is good. The then comments that Gibbs isn’t as nice as Harmon, which makes it all the more challenging because they spend just as much time on the show with Gibbs and they do Harmon, to which the audience laughs. De Pablo and Weatherly kept the audience laughing, displaying the banter in that their characters master so well on the show.

When Fraizer asked if McGee would write a second book, an audience member could be overheard correcting the question, noting it would be McGee's third book.

Much to the fans delight, executive producer Charles Johnson revealed that plans were in the works for a NCIS board game. Expected to be available near the end of the year, the game will allow its players to solve cases right along with the NCIS gang. The cast even mentions the NSIC iPhone app that Deitzen notes is really cool and then pulls out his phone to show a few cast members who had yet to see it.

The family aspect of the show’s cast and crew was really evident watching them on stage and they are fans of the show, noting that if they are working late on the night it’s on, they all will watch it as a group during dinner break.

NCIS airs Tuesdays on CBS. Fans of the show can also enjoy NCIS on a special night, Saturday, March 6 for a rebroadcast of “Power Down.” In the episode summary, the team literally finds themselves in the dark when an investigation into the death of a lieutenant is connected to a city-wide blackout.

To read other PaleyFest recaps, click Modern Family or Cougar Town

The Paley Center's PaleyFest 2010 gives audiences an inside look into the creative process of television's most exciting show in a unique and interesting way. Other shows having panels with the cast and crew complete with audience Q &A this season are "Cougar Town", "Community", "Seth MacFarlane and Friends", "Vampire Diaries" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm". For a complete schedule and for ticket availability, visit the PaleyFest 2010 page at Paley Center (

(pictured: NCIS cast(L-R):David McCullum, Michael Weatherly, Pauley Perrrette, Mark Harmon, Cote de Pablo, Sean Murray, and Rocky Carroll. photo credit: cbs)

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