‘NCIS’: Pauley Perrette Once Saved the Day for McGee Actor Sean Murray with Unorthodox Acting Tip

by Joe Rutland

Leave it to former “NCIS” star Pauley Perrette to help out castmate Sean Murray when he was having some trouble remembering lines.

Murray, who has played Special Agent Timothy McGee since the show first premiered in 2003, recalls a time where one “NCIS” episode revolved around his character.

“We were doing an episode that was a really heavy McGee episode and there was lots and lots of tech talk, which I’m actually good at because I know and understand a lot of it,” he said in a 2021 interview with the Chicago Tribune. “But this was an episode where I just had mountains of dialogue in every scene and the pace of shooting television is just go, go, go, go.”

‘NCIS’ Star Said ‘Brain Just Hit A Wall’ Due To Lot Of Dialogue Memorization

He said that as soon as one scene gets finished, actors have to be ready for that next one. Murray said it might involve four pages of dialogue for an “NCIS” episode.

“So I think it was the last day we were shooting the episode, I was doing a scene with Pauley Perrette in Abby’s lab and I had a monologue that was supposed to be very frustrated and rushed,” Murray said. “And because of all the dialogue memorization I had done for this episode, my brain just hit a wall.”

A panicky feeling came over Murray. It was so bad, he said, that he looked over at Paulette after rehearsal and said he wouldn’t remember anything. He simply said he couldn’t do this.

Perrette, who left “NCIS” in 2018, wasn’t letting her costar off the hook.

Murray Gets Through Scene By Following Costar’s Suggestion

She looked at him, smirked, and said to Murray that everyone has had that happen.

“‘Here’s what I want you to do,'” Murray said Paulette told him. “‘I want you to take a piece of paper and write your monologue down and I want you to stick it on the computer in front of you and I want you to read it as if you’re saying it to me.'”

Murray looked at her in an are-you-kidding way. He reasoned that taking an out like that goes against everything that acting is about. “But it became a matter of pure survival; you’re there to get things done,” Murray said.

What did he do? Murray followed Paulette’s suggestion for the “NCIS” episode they were filming. Everything turned out OK, even if it didn’t fit the actor’s methodology.

You will find Murray, along with costars Mark Harmon and David McCallum, back on board when “NCIS” returns this fall. The show will enter its 19th season while two spinoffs, “NCIS: Los Angeles” and “NCIS: Hawai’i,” can also be found on CBS.