If you’re an NCIS fan, you already know that iconic funny lady Lily Tomlin will be guest-starring this coming season as McGee’s grandmother. But what you may not know is that Penelope McGee, akin to her kin, is a science nerd.
“She’s a scientist, and she’s very sharp,” Tomlin told TVLine after the Television Critics Association panel for the Showtime series Web Therapy (Tuesdays at 11/10c), on which she guest stars.
Further describing Penelope, Tomlin said, “She was an admiral’s wife for many decades, and she’s the mother of McGee’s father…. It was a really good part, and I was really delighted to get it.”
NCIS showrunner Gary Glasberg told me that Tomlin figures into a “really fun, big, McGee-centric episode,” one that is not just about family but has a procedural aspect as well.
“We’re really happy with her,” he said of the Laugh-In alumna’s casting, “and I hope that maybe we can get her to come back.”
Have McGee and his grandma been close over the years? Or does the procedural aspect of the episode manage to bring together two estranged family members? “They’re a military family, and they’re very science-minded, so they’re not overly emotional,” Tomlin says. “But we have this opportunity [to change that].”
Tomlin hails her TV grandson, Sean Murray, as “so darling, he kills me!” As the events of the episode play out, Tim McGee will experience a “kind of a breakthrough,” she says. “[Penelope] makes a connection with him, and we both come to a new place.”