Sean Murray plays Timothy McGee on NCIS. He’s kind of a nerdy guy, who specializes in cybersecurity and computer crime.
But earlier in his career, he sort of got typecast. As a jock. He still sees the irony of some his first roles as he had to fake being an athlete.
In 1995, Murray was a guest star on Silk Stalkings, a drama on CBS and the USA Network. And he was cast as a basketball star.
“And I could play just enough to where I could kind of fake it,” Murray told the Chicago Tribune in an interview earlier this year.
Faking it ended badly. The NCIS star continued with the anecdote:
“So I was me with a bunch of guys who actually knew how to play ball,” Murray said. “We’re mixing it up and they have the cameras going. And all of a sudden I was completely overcome and ran to the corner and started throwing up because I had physically exerted myself so much. Getting sick in front of all the guys? That was embarrassing. It was like, yeah, I’m not as physically fit as all of you and now I’m throwing up.
“I was a teenager during this time, which is an awkward age. You’re so self-conscious about everything to begin with, so the little things that go wrong are so much bigger and really embarrassing.”
NCIS Started His Fake Jock Career in Show About Divorce Lawyers
His fake jock career probably started in 1992. That’s when he guest-starred on Civil Wars, a series about New York divorce lawyers. Murray played a tennis star. It almost was as embarrassing for the future NCIS star as Silk Stalkings.
“The shot was set up so that I was supposed to just serve the ball and the other guy would miss it,” Murray said. “We tried to do it about eight times and I couldn’t get it over the net. The other guy was a pro who was trying to make it look like he was missing the ball. And the whole thing was so bad that they ended up having someone throw the ball over the net from off camera and then I ran in like I had just hit the ball.”
“Basically these two stories point to the fact that I was not a major jock.”
Murray even was asked to audition for a part as a wrestler. When he got there, everyone agreed he was the wrong guy for the role.
So now Murray is 43 and still definitely not a jock. But, he could be the guy in charge for NCIS season 19. With the status of Leroy Jethro Gibbs, played by Mark Harmon, so up in the air, McGee might be the boss. Stay tuned.