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Exclusive: NCIS Superlatives Revealed – Longest Running Cast Member Takes Class Clown and Life of the Party Titles

‘Longest serving cast member on the show, Mark Harmon, is presenting awards to his cherished colleagues!

In an exclusive interview with PEOPLE discussing the show’s monumental 1000th episode airing on April 15, Harmon, aged 46, bestowed some classic yearbook-style accolades upon his co-stars to commemorate the strong bond they have cultivated over the years.

When questioned about who he would nominate as the “biggest class clown” of the NCIS ensemble, Harmon took a moment to reflect before bursting into laughter and bestowing the title upon “my buddy, Mr. Wilmer Valderrama.”

“He brings a constant flow of humor to the set for me and everyone else, making our shooting experience a lot of fun. I see him spreading laughter both on and off the set,” he shared. “He’s a joy to work with. So, I’m giving that honor to Wilmer.”

While Valderrama may bring levity to Harmon’s work environment, Harmon acknowledged a different aspect of nurturing within the group, attributing the title of the “biggest mom or dad” to a female co-star.

“She’s a mother herself, with a young daughter and a husband,” Harmon explained, highlighting a remarkable quality he observed early on about his colleague. Despite the demanding schedule and hard work invested in the show, Harmon praised her as “one of the most devoted mothers I’ve ever encountered.”

“It’s truly remarkable to witness,” he expressed. “Amidst our hectic schedules, during those brief breaks between takes or setups, she’s on FaceTime with her daughter. That level of dedication is truly remarkable and touching.”

This maternal instinct isn’t limited to her own child; Harmon noted that she extends this caring nature to everyone on the cast. “She genuinely cares about each and every one of us and exudes warmth,” he added.

While the title of biggest mom or dad went to this co-star, Harmon had another individual in mind for the “biggest sweetheart” accolade.

“Diona is undoubtedly the sweetest person you’ll ever meet,” he chuckled, reminiscing about the crew’s first encounter with her on set. “The moment she joined the show, everyone instantly fell in love with her. And I’m not just talking about the viewers; I mean us, the people working alongside her, fell for her immediately.”

“Diona is truly special and a dear friend of mine,” he emphasized. “She’s exceptional.”

With the nurturing presence of his co-stars Law and Reasonover, Brian Dietzen, humorously dubbed as “most accident-prone” by Harmon, can count on ample support whenever he encounters mishaps on set.

“Oh, poor Brian… I have immense affection for that man,” shared the Hart of the West star, recounting an incident where Dietzen had a mishap with a tree branch during a shoot. “I recall years ago while filming on location, a small tree branch broke off due to strong winds and accidentally hit Brian’s arm.”

Even after years have passed since the tree branch incident, Dietzen hasn’t been able to shake off the label. Harmon disclosed another mishap Dietzen faced while filming the season 21 finale of NCIS during an action-packed scene.

“Brian had a pretty nasty bump on his head,” Harmon continued. “That’s why, right off the bat, I feel compelled to give this title to Brian. And I don’t want to undermine his grace either. He’s a graceful man, an exceptional actor, and a physical performer.”

After recognizing the class clown, mom or dad, biggest sweetheart, and most accident-prone, Harmon bestowed one final award to Gary Cole, whom he regards as the “life of the party.”

Although he didn’t delve into specifics about Cole’s accolade, Harmon asserted that the title was well-deserved. “Gary is simply… He’s just the epitome of a performer,” he remarked. “I can’t quite put it into words. I just feel Gary deserves this recognition. He truly does.”