NCIS: Sean Murray talks about McGee's near brush with death
On Tuesday’s season finale of NCIS, McGee and Gibbs stay behind on a mission in Paraguay and are immediately outnumbered by a jungle full of rebels. Will McGee survive to go home and begin a family life with his pregnant wife Delilah? We asked McGee’s alter-ego Sean Murray to talk about Tuesday’s finale and where the action will pick up when the show returns for its 15th (!) season next fall.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How is your character feeling in the final episode?
SEAN MURRAY: In the last episode that aired with the wedding and getting news about a baby coming, there’s a lot there. Tim has a lot more responsibility that he has to think about. That plays in to the finale.
Does that fear drive him to step off the helicopter?
Yeah, I think it does. He reaches a moment where he makes that decision because he is first and foremost an agent. That’s a decision that he makes. He goes back into it with Gibbs and it’s looking pretty scary.
Is he avoiding his life?
That’s funny. I don’t know. I’ve never thought of it that way. I still have a little bit to think about it. There could be different versions. Who knows where it’s going to end up. They don’t tell us anything.
Did you have fun shooting the action scenes?
We had a blast. I’m just now getting feeling back in my feet because of running around in boots on uneven terrain. It was a blast, but it was definitely some work.
Where did you shoot that scene?
A lot of that end sequence was shot in two places. One of them was on Soledad Canyon past Disney Ranch and Sable Canyon Ranch [in Southern California], which I don’t think is there anymore. Another place nearby there, I’m not sure what it’s called. It’s where we typically go to do a lot of the Middle Eastern stuff. We do Afghanistan there sometimes. It looks pretty good, doesn’t it?
How long did it take to shoot that?
It could have been a 10-day episode. We fit about three days’ worth of filming in the two days there. It was a real run and gun. It was exciting because that was the material too. It kind of likened itself to the energy of filming it by having to get so much done during the sun up hours. Everything of course was during daylight. The whole thing was really neat. I can’t wait to see what happens next year and where we start and how it’s going to be.
Will it pick up moments later?
I’m just guessing, but I would think so. I think it would pick up moments later. Just the way that ends, yeah, I think that would be the case. Again, I’m just guessing.
Is this the most personal your story line has gotten?
Yeah. We visit a lot with McGee’s family early in the show and the strange relationship with his father, who has since passed away. He made good with him before he passed. As far as Delilah, he’s been in this relationship with her for a while now. I love playing the stuff with McGee at home with Delilah. We’ve had episodes where it shows them at home arguing over making dinner and things like that. I love doing that stuff because it’s different than what the show normally does. It’s fun when we do that. All the agents haven’t had great relationships in the past. This is a positive relationship. That’s neat to have on the show.
Have the writers said they will be exploring that more?
We’ve talked about it. As we’ve gone the last couple years, we have an open dialog about where we think things will go. We’ve been talking down this path for a while. I’m happy to see it. I love the progression of McGee, growing with him and getting to see all that happen. It’s really interesting in the last moments in the finale when he buckles down and says, all right, I’m here to do my job.
Have we seen him in such a dangerous moment?
We’ve seen him once or twice in some situations but not quite as hairy, scary, or overdone as this one in terms of being outnumbered. Tough guy moments are fun to do sometimes.
Do you know if you’re going to get hurt?
All I know is we’re outnumbered. We’ve got all these rebels closing in on us. Gibbs is out there by himself shooting with a (make believe) cigarette and that’s what McGee has got left at that point so he joins him. It doesn’t look good. I don’t know where it’s going to go. I’m sure those guys do. Like I said, they don’t tell us.
How has it been since you lost Gary Glasberg?
We were besides ourselves, of course. That’s how it was. Gary meant as much to the show as anything and was our leader. It wrecked us. As far as how it affected production, it was amazing. Everyone stepped up. Gary had lined up so much as far as the story lines and the arcs that are going to happen this season. We were going to stick with that plan. Everyone in the past, when something has happened, has stepped up. Everyone stepped up to back what Gary’s plan was for the year. That is a testament to how prepared and how good Gary was at his job.
Was Gary’s plan to have you be Rambo in the finale?
I don’t know if he planned the ultimate Rambo. In terms of the relationship with Delilah and some of the personal stuff with McGee, a lot of that was lined up. We had talked about that stuff. We kept it internal. Our group has been together for so long that we were able to step up to different positions when they needed to. We just huddled together. It brought us really close together.
Do you keep reminders of Gary on the set?
Of course. We’ve got pictures of Gary everywhere and little things and awards that he’s received. Gary is a part of the thing and will always be. He’s there whether he’s here or not. He’s there.