‘Gibbs Slap’ of Mark Harmon Was Fully ‘Unscripted’ on NCIS


Harmon’s ‘Gibbs Slap’ has become an iconic part of both the character and the program.

The actor’s character had a habit of slapping his coworkers on the head to keep them in line and attentive.

However, the iconic quirk began as an unscripted incident brought on by impulse. And Michael Weatherly, Harmon’s former co-star, was the first to get the slap.

“Every member of this cast, including Michael, is a tremendously talented actor.”

“I remember we were doing a scene when that happened,” Harmon once told Premiere.

“And he was on a Navy ship, speaking with a female petty officer.” This happened in the first year, I believe.

And he was doing his thing, which is to sometimes stick to the script and sometimes not. I simply reached out and struck him.

I attempted to reconnect him. It was instinctual. It wasn’t deliberate; I didn’t consider it; I just did it.


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