In Episode 18 of Season 3 of “The West Wing,” actor Mark Harmon made his first appearance on the series as Agent Simon Donovan of the Secret Service (via IMDb). When he’s introduced, Simon is assigned to protect C.J. Cregg (Allison Janney), the White House Press Secretary, after she receives death threats over a few controversial statements she made during a press conference. Simon’s take-charge attitude and the seriousness with which he handles his position are secretly appreciated by Cregg, and end up resulting in the two engaging in some great banter throughout the episode. Harmon subsequently went on to appear in “The Black Vera Wang,” “We Killed Yamamoto,” and “Posse Comitatus.” All in all, the series ended up telling a short but interesting story with his character.
One high point of Harmon’s run on the show comes during “We Killed Yamamoto,” when Cregg discovers more about Agent Donovan’s background, which only causes her to respect him even more. As a result, the relationship between Cregg and Donovan becomes flirtatious in the following episode, “Posse Comitatus.” Unfortunately, Donovan is ultimately killed after he tries to stop a convenience store robbery, in what ended up being an unexpected but undeniably heartbreaking conclusion for the character.
Fortunately, Harmon recovered well from his “West Wing” exit. Indeed, the actor starred in the “NCIS” pilot only one year later.