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Mark Harmon Reveals Origin of Real NCIS in New Book ‘Ghosts of Honolulu’

Photo from NCIS on CBS Instagram

Mark Harmon Reveals Origin of Real NCIS in New Book ‘Ghosts of Honolulu’

By Movieguide® Contributor 

NCIS star Mark Harmon recently told fans about his new book that details the beginnings of the real-life NCIS. 

Harmon co-wrote the book, “Ghosts of Honolulu,” with Special Agent Leon Carroll Jr., an actual NCIS agent.  

“Carroll has been the show’s technical advisor for 20 years, so he knows his stuff.  Now the two have teamed up to write ‘Ghosts of Honolulu: A Japanese Spy, A Japanese American Spy Hunter, and the Untold Story of Pearl Harbor.’ This is a non-fiction story of a naval intelligence whose service helped lead to the birth of the modern NCIS that we know today,” CBS reported.

Harmon opened up about how his relationship with Carroll during his time on NCIS impacted his decision to write the book.

“The show was originally based on real stories, and that changes overtime,” Harmon explained. “They came with the idea of doing a book, it was a very different idea. I first said I wouldn’t touch that idea without Leon Carroll because he was my guy every day on the show for 19 years, and he’s someone who did the job for real. So, for the difference between me as an actor and him as a real special agent, he’s also a marine, so for a guy like me playing a character who is an NCIS agent and a marine, he was a gold mine every day for me.”

The book chronicles the story of Japanese-American spy Douglas Wada. 

As America’s war against Japan begins in 1941, “Douglas Wada, the only Japanese American agent in naval intelligence, and Takeo Yoshikawa, a Japanese spy sent to Pearl Harbor to gather information on the U.S. fleet” work in the “shadows.”

“Douglas Wada’s experiences in his native Honolulu include posing undercover as a newspaper reporter, translating wiretaps on the Japanese Consulate, and interrogating America’s first captured POW of World War II, a submarine officer found on the beach,” a description reads. 

“Takeo Yoshikawa is a Japanese spy operating as a junior diplomat with the consulate who is collecting vital information that goes straight to Admiral Yamamoto,” the description continues. “Their dueling stories anchor Ghosts of Honolulu’s gripping depiction of the world-changing cat and mouse games played between Japanese and US military intelligence agents (and a mercenary Nazi) in Hawaii before the outbreak of the second world war.” 

“Doug Wada himself is a Gibbs kind of guy. A man of few words, very meticulous, very insightful of people and how they operated,” Carroll said. 

Movieguide® previously reported on the book: 

“Even through all of the fascinating storylines of NCIS over the last 20 years, Mark Harmon always knew that the most amazing stories in naval intelligence were the true accounts in decades past,” Matt Baugher, publisher of Harper Select, said in a statement about the book.

“He had long desired to tell those stories, and we are honored to help take this first book to the world. Together with his longtime collaborator, Leon Carroll, they have brought the past alive in a true story that reads like a novel but shows the great debt we owe to so many who paved the way for our freedom,” Baugher added.

Now more than ever we’re bombarded by darkness in media, movies, and TV. Movieguide® has fought back for almost 40 years, working within Hollywood to propel uplifting and positive content. We’re proud to say we’ve collaborated with some of the top industry players to influence and redeem entertainment for Jesus. Still, the most influential person in Hollywood is you. The viewer.

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Movieguide® is a 501c3 and all donations are tax deductible.


Now more than ever we’re bombarded by darkness in media, movies, and TV. Movieguide® has fought back for almost 40 years, working within Hollywood to propel uplifting and positive content. We’re proud to say we’ve collaborated with some of the top industry players to influence and redeem entertainment for Jesus. Still, the most influential person in Hollywood is you. The viewer.

What you listen to, watch, and read has power. Movieguide® wants to give you the resources to empower the good and the beautiful. But we can’t do it alone. We need your support.

You can make a difference with as little as $7. It takes only a moment. If you can, consider supporting our ministry with a monthly gift. Thank you.

Movieguide® is a 501c3 and all donations are tax deductible.


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