“NCIS” actor Sean Murray plays Special Agent Timothy McGee on the hit CBS show. And he has been with “NCIS” ever since Season 1. Over the course of the past 18 seasons, he’s gotten to see his character grow and change quite a bit.
In a 2016 interview with Icon vs. Icon, Murray explained why character development is so important to him. He also said that McGee, while originally a rookie, shouldn’t be like the baby Maggie on “The Simpsons.”
Read on to find out what Murray meant by that and why acting in “NCIS” is so much fun.
Murray Didn’t Want Character to Be Like Maggie on ‘The Simpsons’
McGee was a bit like a baby when “NCIS” began. Not quite a blank slate, but close to it, as far as street smarts went.
“He started out as a very rookie agent with no social skills, big problems communicating, book smarts, no street smarts,” Murray said. “No common sense, very studied, computer wiz, MIT and Johns Hopkins studied. But really a rookie in all kinds of ways. I have been very fortunate to have the opportunity of playing a character that has been around for going on 14 years now. I’ve been able to have the character grow and grow with him. That is something not a lot of actors ever get to do.”
The character has grown a lot over the years, Murray said. And he’s proud of that development. After all, he pushed for it from the beginning. Luckily for him, the rest of the creative team responsible for McGee’s arc saw eye-to-eye with him on that.
“Everyone from the writers to the showrunners have been very receptive [to] it,” he said of his efforts to have McGee grow and change. “I didn’t want this role to be like ‘The Simpsons’ where the baby, Maggie, resets to default at the beginning of the show each week! If you are going to have a rookie agent on the show, as the show moves forward, it would only make sense that the agent would continue to learn, improve and you would travel along with him as it went.”
‘NCIS’ Is a Lot of Fun for Actors
“NCIS” is a great show for actors, Murray explained, because the characters don’t stay static. He’s never gotten bored with McGee. That’s despite playing him for nearly two decades. And that is a testament to how the scripts have evolved over time.
“It has been so much fun. Because, as an actor, you can really get bored with a character or environment pretty quickly,” Murray said. “We are now in our 14th year and I have never gotten bored with my character ever or with what we are doing. I think that is because we are constantly pushing it. If everyone were just phoning it in and saying, ‘OK, those are the characters, rely on that,’ that would sure be easy but I don’t know if it would be fun to watch.”
Audiences seem to agree, because “NCIS” is one of the network’s highest-rated series. Its Season 18 finale netted 8.956 million viewers. And with the show renewed for Season 19, there’s no telling in what direction the “NCIS” team will take its characters next.