NCIS: Origins Won’t Survive Without 1 Actor’s On-Screen Appearance


Leroy Jethro Gibbs’ prequel series, NCIS: Origins, has its cast already locked in but is still missing one more character who could spell the show’s success. For years, CBS has been finding ways to further take advantage of the police procedural’s popularity by launching shows that focus on satellite offices of the agency. That said, NCIS’ new expansion show will tackle Gibbs’ early years with the organization, tracking his arc until he becomes the Major Case Response Team’s (MCRT) leader as first seen in its JAG backdoor pilot and then eventually, for almost two decades in the main show.

NCIS: Origins is recasting young Gibbs, who was initially played by Sean Harmon, Mark Harmon’s son. A Friend of the Family and The Hating Game star, Austin Stowell has been confirmed to play the lead role in the prequel. CBS is surrounding him with a mix of familiar and new characters. Young Mike Franks and Vera Strickland will be played by Kyle Schmid and Diany Rodriguez, respectively. Meanwhile, fresh characters in Mariel Molino as Special Agent Lala Dominguez and Tyla Abucrombie as Field Operation Support Officer Mary Jo Sullivan round up the core cast.

Mark Harmon Needs To Make On-Screen Appearances In NCIS: Origins

Harmon’s Appearance Will Help Establish Stowell’s New Gibbs

Amid all of this, Harmon remains involved. In fact, the idea of doing NCIS: Origins came from him and his son, as they are executive producing the project. The prequel also serves as the actor’s return to the franchise a couple of years after retiring from the role in the flagship project. Besides working behind the scenes, Harmon will also narrate the events of NCIS: Origins — a storytelling trick inspired by Jim Parsons’ role in Young Sheldon, which proved to be very successful for CBS. Beyond that, however, he also needs to make a physical appearance for the prequel to work.


Physically featuring Harmon will help disseminate information about what NCIS: Origins is really about.

Harmon will always be synonymous with Gibbs and NCIS, so Stowell has his work cut out for him. That’s unavoidable when it comes to any kind of recasting for a popular character. However, physically featuring Harmon will help disseminate information about what NCIS: Origins is really about. If CBS markets it as his return to the franchise, more people may be inclined to check it out. Once that happens, they can hope viewers are convinced to stick around for the new show, assuming that it is objectively good.

How Harmon’s NCIS: Origins Cameo Can Happen

CBS Can Get Creative When Staging Harmon’s NCIS: Origins Cameo

As a prequel, a straightforward cameo is impossible. However, NCIS: Origins can use Harmon’s appearance as a way to establish the show’s premise. Perhaps while Gibbs is retired in Alaska, he starts writing a book chronicling his time with the agency. This is arguably the easiest way to stage a physical cameo from Harmon without demanding him to appear in every episode. It’s worth noting that he left NCIS because the filming schedule was proving to be too grueling for him, and they couldn’t scale back on his role the way the show did for David McCallum’s Ducky.