‘NCIS’: The Surprising Family Connection Sean Murray Has to Timothy McGee

by Jonathan Howard
Photo: Cliff Lipson/CBS ©2021 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

For NCIS actor Sean Murray, his role as Timothy McGee is not completely fiction. He has some real-life family connection to the character he plays.

Over the years, Murray has answered tons of questions about the show. However, when speaking with Forbes in 2017, the actor talked a bit about the connection he has with his character. It is a special connection. Fans of the show know that McGee’s dad is a four-star admiral. Well, wouldn’t you believe it, Murray’s dad is a retired Navy captain.

“It’s a little bit of art imitating life. The first time on the show when we visited McGee’s apartment they made up a quick back story for him. They asked if I had pictures [from] when I was young with my Dad. I said, ‘yes, but he was a Navy officer and is in his navy whites.’ They made McGee’s father a Navy officer.”

The writers on NCIS can adapt whenever they need to. That is such a good way to use genuine photos while also keeping the story interesting. The fact that McGee’s father is such a high-ranking officer in the show has real consequences for his character. It isn’t just backstory and filler.

“Part of the story evolved from a picture of me and my father while he was on a ship coming back from deployment. On the show McGee and his father, before he passed, had a tough relationship. In real life, it’s a very different story,” Murray continued about the dynamic.

Although they brought in elements of real-life here, it doesn’t mean that it is a perfect reflection. In fact, as the NCIS star was saying, it is a very different story in real life.

‘NCIS’ Star Explains Difference Between Character and Real Life

While part of Sean Murray’s real-life has reflected on his character, he makes it clear there are differences. McGee does not have a great relationship with his father. It reflects on his attitudes many times in the show. However, that was never the case in real life according to Murray.

“I have a very close relationship with my father. We’re in no way estranged,” Murray said. “My dad thinks it’s pretty funny that I’m playing an agent who polices the military when I actually grew up as a military brat.”

This might be the most change that McGee has seen in quite some tie. So far this season, Gibbs has left and is no longer the leader of the team. McGee, to the surprise of fans and his fellow agents, was not promoted. Although he has the experience he doesn’t feel ready to take on the challenge. He is concerned about his family and his own safety and his mental well-being. This season is likely going to have more surprises along the way.