Sean Murray Talks ‘Interesting’ Path to Becoming an NCIS Regular

Photo from NCIS on CBS’ Instagram

Sean Murray Talks ‘Interesting’ Path to Becoming an NCIS Regular

By Movieguide® Contributor

Sean Murray’s character as Timothy McGee on NCIS was never intended to be a permanent role, but now his character is the one that’s been there the longest.

Murray’s “journey to becoming a series regular was ‘an interesting one,’” TV Insider reported.

Murray’s stepdad, Donald Bellisario, created NCIS, which is now in its 21st season. He helped Murray get the role.

“There was a one-time guest star appearance for a rookie agent,” he explained. “Don asked me if I wanted to do this.”

“It was an interesting character, total rookie, total kind of stumbling over himself, trying to learn what he’s doing sort of thing,” Murray told TV Insider. “It goes well, I get along with everyone. We finished the end of that episode, and my character is neither a bad guy nor arrested nor killed, which is a good sign.”

After another episode ran three minutes short, Murray was hastily thrown back into the show. He got to the “turning point” for his character in Season 1: Episode 19. That episode showed McGee’s significant character development. From there on out, he became a regular on the show and is now the longest one standing.

“[It] felt like we were onto something,” he said. “We were still trying to find our footing, and we did something pretty heavy duty at the end of Season 2: Our female lead, Caitlin Todd, played by Sasha Alexander, took a bullet in the head. We kept that a secret because we wanted that to be a surprise when it aired, and people really were surprised by that.”

“Between the end of Season 2 and Season 3, a lot of interest started to drum up with the show, and I think that was part of it, knowing that we were doing things a little differently than a lot of network television shows would,” Murray said. “Cote de Pablo came aboard Season 3, and as we got going during that season, we could feel things picking up and things were clicking and the audience was starting to come and hang with us.”

Now, at 21 seasons, McGee is still a staple character. And in Season 21: Episode 5, McGee will be under the spotlight as he uncovers a distant relation, Screen Rant reported.

Movieguide® previously reported on Murray’s first encounter with NCIS star Mark Harmon:

“He made quite an impression on me when he came on and did a role on HARTS OF THE WEST,” he continued. “I had a few scenes with him, and we talked quite a bit about craft and things. So, being able to work with him again all these years later is just great. And, you know, he’s been a bit of a mentor to me, whether he knows it or not.”

NCIS often received the rank of the number one show on American TV.

“[It] is amazing how many times that’s happened, we try not to think about that too much,” said Murray. “I know that’s funny, but it’s also something that was sort of instilled in us early because you don’t want to get complacent.”

“If people are tuned in and invested, you want to make sure to keep bringing the goods, you really do, even more so than usual,” he said. “So we feel a responsibility to keep the quality high, and we always have. Twenty-one years later, we’re still hopefully doing that.”

He told Entertainment Weekly the secret to the show’s longevity.

“You know, a lot of these procedurals, everyone takes themselves very seriously, it seems. And we have a little more fun,” he said. “The longer we’ve been around, the longer people have kind of really gotten to know these characters and like these characters, have become very protective of them.”

“And I know people love to say this but I actually mean it: we have a blast on set. We really do. We work hard, but we have a lot of fun, and a lot of us spend time with each other outside of the set,” he said. “We’re all very close friends, and I think that that shows.”

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