‘FBI: Most Wanted’ Star Julian McMahon Talks Jess’ Struggle to Raise His Daughter and Deal With Trauma

by Suzanne Halliburton
Mark Schafer / CBS

Julian McMahon acknowledges the pressure his character is under on FBI: Most Wanted.

Jess LaCroix is the boss of the elite crew of agents. So there’s all that criminal stuff. McMahon’s LaCroix is privy to information about some of the most hideous crimes in the country.

But on FBI: Most Wanted, he also plays a widowed dad trying to raise his young daughter, Tali, as normal as possible in between investigating serial killers, sex traffickers child and domestic terrorists.

The fall finale of FBI: Most Wanted, which ran earlier this week, displayed all that. In the episode Run-Hide-Fight, LaCroix and Barnes were doing some holiday shopping when they were caught up in a mall shooting. And there was no way out of the massive building.

Plus, LaCroix received what he perceived to be bad news about his daughter. An exclusive Canadian boarding school admitted Tali. That means she’s leaving home. Her maternal grandparents will be nearby. LaCroix doesn’t want her to go. He was hoping the school would tell her no. But he can’t tell her that. So he gave his blessings because you do what’s best for your kids.

Raising her is tough.

“As we’ve grown with Jess, we’ve learned that he’s learning how to communicate with his daughter,” the FBI: Most Wanted star said. And I think that this one’s a real tough one, because what she witnessed in her home clearly is gonna have an effect for years, but how do you handle it? How do you deal with that? And Jess does that kind of stuff for a living. So his perception is that, you know, you have to compartmentalize it and move on. And home is one place and work is another, but this home is now the scene of the crime. So it’s just a really difficult thing to manage, I think. And I think it’s going to be fascinating to see kind of how we move forward with that.

Mark Schafer/CBS ©2021

With Tali Off at School, Does FBI: Most Wanted Say Bye to Character?

So, will FBI: Most Wanted be saying good bye to Tali?

“No, she’s gonna be with us,” McMahon said. “No, no, we have to go through the whole, ‘Dad doesn’t want you to go’ stuff. They’re gonna go through that. And then we have to figure out a few things in regards to whether she can actually literally go, so no, that’s not a goodbye.

Before the season three premiere in September, McMahon told reporters that the idea of portraying a single father on FBI: Most Wanted appealed to him. Men with high-pressure jobs can be good fathers.

“Look, I have to tell you, that kind of attribute to the character is one that was very engaging to me,” McMahon said. “And (it’s) one of the reasons I wanted to be part of the show!”

FBI: Most Wanted returns Jan. 4 with a new episode. It’s called “Incendiary.” From the plot summary provided by CBS, Tali is off at school because LaCroix and Sarah are adjusting to being empy nesters.