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Interview » Intervju | 43 NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service) is more than just an action drama. With plentyofhumourincluded,thisseriesrepresentstheperfectcombinationoffun,uncertainty and dramatic plots. A brilliant group of people who are by nomeans perfect, but are always interesting. Even when it seems like this is something we’ve already seen, the producers are willing to kill off the characters or compel them to leave the team. This series, the 19th season of which is now airing in America,hasbeentoppingviewingfiguresforalmosttwo decades. Broadcast in 200 countries and proclaimed the world’s best TV drama, it has three spinoffs (Los Angeles, New Orleans and, as of recently, Hawai’i). And leading this phenomenal story is Mark Harmon, as the legendaryLeroy JethroGibbs, who left the series in the 19th season, though it’s not yet completely clear whether his departure is temporary or permanent. Here he speaks exclusively for Elevate about whether he grew tired of NCIS, but alsohis recollections of the11thseason, which the Fox Crime channel is currently broadcasting in Serbia on weekdays... We saw recently that you and Gibbs have taken a break from the show after many years. Or, more precisely, the direction in which the story will develop further in the 19th season is unknown. Did you get tired of Gibbs? „As long as an inner desire exists, an urge, or the attractiveness of the role, you can’t get tired of the character you’re playing. I think that, with a good screenwriter, any character can live forever. When it comes to Gibbs and me, we’ve known each other since 2003 and it would be wrong to say that we’ve grown tired of one another. Quite simply, every period of life carries a story of its own, and it seems to both Gibbs and me that we’ve had enough action in front of the camera. He will enjoy fishing, nature and peace and quiet in Alaska, and I’ll seek that same peace and quiet in some other way. Though I’m not ready to say goodbye just yet…” Can NCIS survive without Gibbs? “It seems to me that, with the spinoffs, we’ve already proved that we don’t even need to consider that. Gibbs is the thread that connects everything, but NCIS is bigger than him. After 18 years, this show is already a phenomenon.” However, in Serbia we’ve only got as far as the 11th season, which is currently being shown, so we’ll be enjoying your character for a few more years. What do you remember about season 11? “Definitely the arrival of Emily Wickersham, who played the character of agent Ellie Bishop. I think she was a wonderful breath of fresh air for the show at that moment and that 11th seasonwas a great turning point for the whole franchise. That season, if I recall correctly, was marked by our first foray into a spinoff series: NCIS: New Orleans.” What is it that’s made NCIS so enduring? “The team. People often ask me what my dearest memory is from this show, expecting me to tell them about some attractive scene or something amazing that happened to me during filming. For me, however, the memory I’ll always treasure is that moment when, at the end of a day’s filming, one of us says, “Hey, shall we go for dinner together?” This means that we’re all still one big family and that we all share the same passion for that project. As long as that energy between people exists, so will the show.” What’s the best piece of advice Gibbs has ever given you? “His attitude towards the people he works withwas a great inspiration for me. Gibbs is known as a ruthless mentor who demands the max from those around him, but he sets the same criteria for himself. In order to succeed, youmust be ashonestwithyourself as youarewith others. Youneed tobe aware of your flaws.That’s the only way you can advance.” Do you even remember what life was like before this show? “Older generations remember that I existed before NCIS [laughs]. Although I startedmy actingwork a long time ago, I didn’t always believe thiswould bemy career. If I hadn’t become an actor, I’d have been a carpenter. In fact, I actually was a carpenter before I started acting. There’s somethingnoble in thatwork; there’s something intoxicating in the structure of wood and the very idea of creating something with your own hands.” Back in 1986, you succeeded Mel Gibson on the cover of People magazine as the sexiest man alive. How do you look back on that part of your life today? “I’m glad that I’m still around almost four decades later, and that my career didn’t end on that cover page [laughs]. Joking aside, as I said, every period has its own energy. At 20, appearance is important, you start the day with training, and end it thinking about the next day’s training. That’s a little harder going today, but Pilates is a great thing and it’s thanks to it that I still feel that spirit of youth.”