'NCIS' Cast Credits Mark Harmon for Leading Franchise With 'Integrity' over 450 Episodes

NCIS Credits Mark Harmon for Leading Franchise over 450 Episodes

NCIS hits a new milestone: 450 episodes! In Monday's episode, the longtime CBS's procedural celebrated an amazing record, and only ET was with the cast to celebrate the incredible feat.

Despite veteran actor Mark Harmon leaving the show early in season 19, NCIS star Wilmer Valderrama thanked his former co-star for making the series what it is today.

"What NCIS has done beautifully, and I have to say, we're here on the shoulders of so many incredible actors that were here before us, actors who are here or have passed, guest stars who have come and gone, and this show has seen so many careers blossom,"

Valderrama, who joined the show as Nick Torres in season 14, told ET's Matt Cohen.

"It's also a huge tribute to Mark Harmon, who  led this beautifully for hundreds of episodes and has been able to retain this boat with the integrity and value set that it still performs today," he said.

Mark Harmon The best NCIS ever present
Mark has been an ever present in the series. Photo: CBS

"So you think about what this show has meant, not only for the fans, but to our industry and what it's done for us as a community of actors who are looking for that break or to be discovered."

READ MORE: Mark Harmon: The best NCIS ever present

“Then it comes full circle and it gets disruptive enough to keep us all on board and reinventing it for our audience. And we can, there's a recipe of things that have to go perfectly in order for you to reach 450 episodes, And although we can't take credit for the first 300, I think it's an honor to be on the same page."

Sonja Flemming/CBS

As the cast ponders the series approaching 450 episodes mark, some shared their theories as to why the show, which ranks alongside Gunsmoke (635 episodes), Lassie (591 episodes), Law & Order SVU (531 episodes) as the longest-running scripted programs, continues to strike lightning in a bottle two decades in.

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