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'NCIS' veteran Mark Harmon will shepherd, make appearances on new 'NCIS: New Orleans' on CBS

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BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - Mark Harmon is getting busier.

The actor's character of Gibbs will appear on the latest "NCIS" spinoff based in New Orleans, which begins shooting next week in the Crescent City.

"NCIS: New Orleans" stars Scott Bakula, Lucas Black and CCH Pounder and deals with the investigation of criminal cases. Harmon serves as an executive producer in addition to his duties starring in "NCIS," which started as a spinoff of "JAG" and heads into its 12th season this fall.

"I'm here to help," Harmon told the summer TV critics' meeting on Thursday. "I've learned a few things in 12 years and I'd be glad to pass a few along or not."

Harmon and "NCIS" co-star Pauley Perrette will make crossover appearances on the new show. Actor Rob Kerkovich has been added to the cast as a forensic scientist who will work with Pounder's character.

Bakula appreciates having the backing of an established franchise in launching the latest spinoff, although he admits to feeling pressure.

"We have to earn our place," he said. "It's not a given."

If history is any indication, Bakula might not have to worry.

"NCIS: Los Angeles," starring Chris O'Donnell and LL Cool J, began as a spinoff and has found a successful home at CBS.

"We have big shoes to follow," Bakula said. "The ball that's being handed off is a perfect spiral."

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