The drama between NCIS co-stars Mark Harmon and Pauley Perrette may be officially resolved, but that doesn't stop fans from thinking about their history of subtle jabs and on-set conflict. During Perrette's awkward exit from the show — flanked by allegations of "multiple physical assaults" — Harmon gave interviews about new cast member Maria Bello, in which fans picked up on some subtle shading Perrette's way.
In September 2017, Harmon appeared on The Talk to share his thoughts on Bello's addition to the cast, saying he admired her work ethic and her positive attitude. "It's so enjoyable working with her because everything comes at you with a different spin on it. And on top of all of it, she really wants to be there. How about that? It doesn't work if you don't want to be there and she wants to be there a lot and that's been a huge thing for this crew and this team," he said at the time.
Fans wondered if Harmon, who has starred in the series since Season 1, was implying he knew someone — namely Perrette — who didn't like being on set. "Mark Harmon low-key taking hella shots at Pauley because he keeps saying '[Bello] likes being here,'" one YouTube user commented on the interview.
But that wasn't the only time Harmon praised Bello for liking her job. In a November 2017 interview with Entertainment Tonight Canada, Harmon again emphasized Bello's willingness to be at work.
"She's terrific. She loves the job, loves being there. Smile on her face every morning. It's just important to love what you do, in this group especially," Harmon said at the time. "And so, to find her, to have her be excited about joining this family, and then to now get a chance six months in to work with her has been a joy. And it's really in many ways a rebirth this year. It feels like that; we've all been on a different arc since the very first show, and it just feels good; it feels strong."
Perrette left the long-running drama in May 2018, just a few months after Harmon's comments. She claimed in a series of since-deleted tweets that she was the victim of "multiple physical assaults" on set and said in June that she was "terrified" of Harmon, adding that she'd never go back to the show on which she starred since Season 1.
CBS did not comment on Perrette's specific claims, but said that the formal complaints she lodged have been resolved. "I can't speak to what she's addressing in her tweets," CBS president of entertainment Kelly Kahl told reporters at CBS' Television Critics Association press tour day earlier this month, reports Deadline. "She came to us with a workplace concern, we immediately investigated it and resolved it to everyone's satisfaction, and we're very happy to have her on the air with us this year. I don't think she'd be back with us if she had huge concerns."
Perrette did not go into details of the alleged incidents, tweeting in May 2018: "I refused to go low, that's why I've never told publicly what happened. But there are tabloid articles out there that are telling total lies about me. If you believe them? Please leave me alone. You clearly don't know me. (Sorry guys, had to be said)."
"NO I AM NOT COMING BACK! EVER! (Please stop asking?) I am terrified of Harmon and him attacking me. I have nightmares about it. I have a new show that is SAFE AND HAPPY! You'll love it! [Happy Place] Love y'all," she wrote on June 7.
A few days later, Perrette returned to Twitter to publish a photo showing a crew member injured. She claimed the man needed 16 stitches after Harmon's rescue dog attacked them in an October 2016 incident.
"You think I didn't expect blow back? You got me wrong," Perrette wrote. "THIS happened to my crew member and I fought like hell to keep it from happening again! To protect my crew! And then I was physically assaulted for saying NO!? and I lost my job."
Sources told The Wrap in 2018 that at one point, Harmon and Perrette were being filmed separately and never worked together on the same day.
Harmon never commented on the alleged incident. He will be back on NCIS, which will start its 17th season this month. Perrette remains employed by CBS, as she will star in Broke, a sitcom that will air next year.