Cast dropouts no prob­lem for NCIS stal­wart Mur­ray

Herald Sun - Switched On - - ON THE COUCH - BY COLIN VICK­ERY NA­TIONAL TV WRITER

NCIS has been hit by some big de­par­tures in re­cent years but one ac­tor that has stayed loyal is Sean Mur­ray.

The 38-year-old has played Spe­cial Agent Ti­mothy McGee on the US naval drama since its 2003 de­but and says he isn’t go­ing any­where.

Cote de Pablo, pop­u­lar as for­mer Mos­sad agent Ziva David, quit NCIS in 2013. Emily Wick­er­sham joined the cast as El­lie Bishop to cover the loss.

A fort­night ago Michael Weatherly, who has played spe­cial agent Tony DiNozzo since the start, an­nounced he was leav­ing at sea­son’s end.

Mark Har­mon, Pauley Per­rette, and David McCal­lum, along with Mur­ray, will be the only orig­i­nal cast mem­bers left.

“It has been a won­der­ful ride so far,” Mur­ray says. “Ti­mothy McGee was un­like any char­ac­ter I had ever played be­fore but I had a very clear idea of who he was.

“What has kept it in­ter­est­ing for me is that there has been a pro­gres­sion in all the char­ac­ters on the show over the years, and McGee more than any­one.”

In sea­son one, McGee had a re­la­tion­ship with foren­sic spe­cial­ist Abby Sci­uto (Per­rette). Later he be­gan dat­ing cryp­tol­o­gist Delilah Field­ing (Margo Harsh­man).

Start­ing as a ju­nior field agent led to a lot of teas­ing from DiNozzo. McGee has also had his is­sues with su­per­vi­sor Leroy Gibbs (Har­mon).

“McGee was only meant to join the team for a few episodes but it just felt right — like a miss­ing piece to the pie.

“I came back and did a big scene with Michael and you could start to feel the sort of rap­port that Ti­mothy and Tony would even­tu­ally build.”

NCIS is into its 13th sea­son and shows no sign of los­ing pop­u­lar­ity. Re­cent episodes have av­er­aged more than 22 mil­lion view­ers in the US.

“The beauty of NCIS is that all the char­ac­ters are a lit­tle dif­fer­ent,” Mur­ray says.

“Be­cause the show has run so long we’ve re­ally got­ten to ex­plore that stuff a lot.”

Mur­ray started act­ing in his teens and has ap­peared in NCIS fore­run­ner Jag as well as movies Ho­cus Pocus and This Boy’s Life.

“When I first worked with Mark Har­mon I was 15 on Harts of the West,” Mur­ray re­calls.

“Mark and I have sim­i­lar work ethics. I’ve learned a tremen­dous amount from him.

“From the be­gin­ning we have all taken on more re­spon­si­bil­ity. You’re not just an ac­tor. We con­trib­ute ideas, we are very in­volved in our char­ac­ters. We are all close.”

NCIS, CHAN­NEL 10, TUES­DAY, 8.30PM

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