Fall TV Preview

NCIS' Sean Murray Previews 'Classic' Season 12, McGee/Gibbs Bonding

NCIS Season 12 McGeeComing off of what showrunner Gary Glasberg has called a “tumultuous” Season 11 — during which two casting changes took place, the seeds were planted for a New Orleans spin-off and the passing of Ralph Waite was written in — CBS’ NCIS is back in “classic” form, Sean Murray tells TVLine.

The Season 12 opener (airing Tuesday at 8/7c) thrusts Murray’s McGee into a Russian hot zone with boss man Gibbs (played by Mark Harmon), paving the way for the introduction of a new adversary. Here, Murray previews all that and more.

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TVLINE | Where do things pick up when the season opens up on Tuesday night? Are McGee and Gibbs already in the thick of things?
There’s an Internet technician, an IT guy, who’s in Russia and is supposed to be delivering the body of his dead uncle back to the States. Gibbs is sent to go ahead and escort him, and he picks McGee to go along with him. And then it all happens pretty quickly. Right from the get-go they’re in Russia and in a helicopter.

TVLINE | And then things go sideways?
[Laughs] And things go sideways, yes.

TVLINE | At least looking at the previews alone it looks like quite the fun two-hander for you and Mark.NCIS Season 12 McGee Gibbs
It was. And Mark and I had a really good time doing it. I mean, we had long hours, it was a lot of outside, night, exterior nights, and forests…. But it was a good episode. We wanted to kind of connect, to show the relationship between McGee and Gibbs a little bit more, and McGee kind of in a little bit of a more mature light, if you know what I mean.

TVLINE | Because when around Tony, there’s the temptation to goof around.
Exactly.

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TVLINE | How would you say the McGee-Gibbs dynamic has evolved over all these years?
Well, I think Gibbs has a lot of trust in McGee and allows him to take part in a number of things that the old McGee would never be allowed to do. He has run interrogations and has taken the lead on a number of investigations, and just has more to give. Gibbs is almost a father figure to us, and we’re all like his children in a way, so I think that the bond between them has sort of tightened as McGee has “grown up.” There’s been a lot of character progression, especially from the early years. I mean, if you see some of the old episodes, McGee is a different guy.

TVLINE | All told, what is your favorite relationship to play on the show?
Hmm. That’s a tough one, because it’s totally different with everyone. In Abby’s lab, McGee is a lot more kind of loosey-goosey and relaxed NCIS Season 12than he is reporting in the squad room. I really like the McGee/Tony relationship a lot; it’s one of my favorite things on the show. Bantering with Michael [Weatherly], he can be very inventive, with lots of ad-libbing, and I appreciate that. It makes for good reactions, and sometimes you get some fairly good moments out of that.

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TVLINE | I know Gary Glasberg was really excited about bringing on Alex Veadov as this season’s adversary. How would you describe this recurring Big Bad?
Oh, he’s a good one. I actually just saw the [premiere] for the first time yesterday — we were kind of separated while we were shooting, so I didn’t have a lot of scenes with him — but yeah, he’s a tremendously nice guy, and when I saw the episode I thought he was just perfect. He talks very kind of low and has a real foreboding presence…. I think we got a good one.

TVLINE | Gary also has talked about how last season had to serve many different masters, and he wanted to really get back to the “classic” NCIS formula with 12. Is that something you’re seeing in the early episodes?
Definitely. We’re sort of doing the more classic, serialized version of NCIS, whereas last year we had a lot of things to sort of address with Ziva leaving and the entrance of the Bishop character. There was a lot going on last year.

TVLINE | What is the state of the McGee-Delilah union? I have to imagine she’s worried about him over there in Russia. Does she get mentioned?
I believe she does get mentioned — if not the premiere, in the second episode. But there’s plenty of talk about Delilah (played by Margo Harshman), and I think we are going to see her at some point this year. That relationship will continue, as far as I know.

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TVLINE | What kind of surprises does the Ducky flashback episode (airing Oct. 7) have for us? Anything that made you go, “Wow, I didn’t expect that”?
Well, just that “going to England” in the ‘60s with these flashbacks was really fun. The team and everyone in production worked really hard on trying to make it authentic, and Adam Campbell (Mixology) as a twentysomething Ducky is just perfect. He did such a great job, not mimicking but sort of showing us Ducky as a young guy, and it works. He looks a lot like him, he sounds like him…..

TVLINE | I can almost hear, like, Austin Powers music playing in the background as you describe the episode.
[Laughs] Exactly. That’s something that was fun, to read and see happen.

Want more scoop on NCIS, or for any other show? Email insideline@tvline.com and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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48 Comments
  1. Tran says:

    I can imagine the Season 12 premiere of NCIS as like sort of homage from the movie The Grey with Liam Neeson.

  2. ninamags says:

    I’ve always liked McGee and look forward to the premier tomorrow.

  3. TullaT says:

    Glad to be seeing more of McGee this season. Anything that takes screen time away from Bishop is fine by me.

    • Braddock says:

      Right on about McGee they really took a step in the right direction with Delilah last season personally I like Bishop but I get it. I couldn’t stand Blake on Criminal Minds but I still watch it for the people still there.

      • I’m glad somebody understands why some people don’t like Bishop. Do we like every character on every tv show? I know I don’t. NCIS Los Angeles is the exemption to that rule.

      • Angela says:

        See, now I liked Blake, myself. I think I’m a rarity in that I tend to like all the characters on the shows I watch to some degree or another. I have my personal favorites, sure, but the shows wouldn’t work as well without everyone there.
        I don’t care if people dislike certain characters here and there, fine, whatever-some just catch on better than others for certain viewers, it happens. But the extreme dislike some people show, to the point where people feel the need to go on and on about how much they can’t stand x character in every single comment section they can find on a show, that I really do not understand (and I’m speaking in a general sense here, not targeted at any one person in particular). Especially if it’s been made clear the actor/character isn’t going anywhere anytime soon-at some point, viewers who dislike them need to learn to just deal with it somehow.

  4. More McGee this season is just fine by me! Sean’s such an underrated actor so it’s good to see him get more screen time. :-)

  5. Thank you for the heads up regarding N.C.I.S. WE (OUR FAMILY) look forward to watching it.

  6. Gina says:

    Sooo glad for more McGee on screen. Sean is a very solid, underrated actor. He was fantastic in the episodes with his father! I wish for more Tony and McGee banter again as it was sadly lacking last season. Last season just was off balance it seemed to me.

    • Meg says:

      Last season was all about Bishop. All of the characters stood around her and gaped at her majesty.

      • Bonnie Walker says:

        Totally wrong–but, thanks for playing. Blah,blah,blah,Bishop,blah,blah,worst,blah,blah,blah. God, you are so typical–and so very boring.

        • Bonnie for one Bishop is great and two time t stop belittling the show and characters. If you are unhappy stop watching and let real NCIS fans enjoy. Enough is enough.

          • Bonnie Walker says:

            Actually, I was defending Bishop because I like her and I love NCIS–so why are you coming after me? I was responding to “Meg”.

      • Guest(real name will be revealed when I decide) says:

        @Meg And so yet another false accusation about Bishop comes out. How utterly pathetic and stupid at the same time. How do you know it was all about Bishop in Season 11 without actually watching it?! There are two fanbases for this show. Fanbase 1: REAL NCIS fans who watch the show for ALL the characters. But then there’s Fanbase 2: NCIS fans which in reality you weren’t fans to begin with who only watched because of only one character and being typical and delusional. And judging by your comment you’re in Fanbase #2. How about you and fanbase 2 stop your little unwinnable feud with the show and it’s cast and crew because you’re not going to win or stop watching permanently because we do not have any room for boring and you and fanbase 2’s garbage in the 2014-2015 television season! BELIEVE THAT! (The Truth Reigns plays)

      • No, that would be season 10 with Ziva.

    • I have to respectfully disagree, Gina. I thought the banter and the relationship between Tony and McGee was finally starting to return after being absent for several seasons. The cleanse subplot in the one episode was classic, and great acting between the two of them.

      I did find a couple of the episodes towards the end of the season had the tendency to make them backslide back into the snark/mean banter from previous seasons, though – hopefully that will not show up in season 12.

  7. John NYC says:

    The recent McGee is welcome to get more screen time but Sean’s right, the early one had to grow first. Granted that can be said for many of them (oddly not Sasha or Mark).

  8. Meg says:

    I can’t stand Bishop and I think she’s the worst character they ever had on the main cast. For this year, I would like to she her written off. My friends and I would have a huge viewing party with champagne.

  9. Jeanie says:

    I ‘m glad to see McGee getting more airtime he deserves it. That’s the only thing I ‘m happy about. S11 was horrible with the way Ziva’s exit was handled, and the addition if Bishop. She’s terrible, and if there’s no chance for Ziva then get someone that can at least do half as good a job as Cote. I see S12 being a bigger disaster than S11 if they continue down their current path.

    • Bonnie Walker says:

      *SIGH*, blah,blah,blah,Bishop,blah,blah,blah,terrible,blah,blah,blah. Rinse and repeat. Season 11 wasn’t a disaster, only in a certain little group’s mind–but, please don’t let reality bother you–it hasn’t so far. Why aren’t you whining at Cote to return? Want some cheese to go with your whine? As I said before–typical and so boring……..

    • Guest(real name will be revealed when i decide) says:

      @Jeanie In YOURS and fanbase #2 minds Season 11 was horrible which means you never watched, but in REAL NCIS fans minds they don’t seem to agree with you. How do you know Bishop is terrible without actually hmm i don’t know(in my own scary voice) GIVING HER A CHANCE?! (in normal voice) You and your delusional, typical and boring Ziva goon squad need to realize something right now, in television life and in real life you need to try something new which means you will see casting changes because if you don’t try something new then it will get stale fast, you must realize that! Don’t like these changes then simply stop watching the show permanently! And that goes to the Ziva goon squad as well because like REAL NCIS fans here i’m 100%(or maximum) sick and tired of your garbage! The season hasn’t even started and you’re still talking about that witch! If you and your goon squad reply back to me(you all better not) you’ll see a side of me that has not been seen before and i can promise this it will not be pretty. BELIEVE THAT! (The Truth Reigns plays)

    • Except that season 11 wasn’t a disaster. It was both critically acclaimed and highly rated, which is impressive considering they had to rewrite almost half the season due to CdP’s abrupt departure.

  10. Erin says:

    I miss seeing Tony in dangerous situations. It’s been a really long time since we’ve seen him handle a significant case.

  11. Nan Schilder says:

    I really love that show. How did Tim lose all that weight, will Zeva be coming back?

  12. Joni says:

    Hey Sean, I really like the evolution of the Tony/Tim relationship in Season 11 and I’m looking forward to more of it as Season 12 unfolds.

    I love knowing that NCIS is returning to it’s roots from the early seasons. There was a good start to it last season so knowing it’s continuing is music to this viewers ears/eyes.

  13. RJ Valdez says:

    Please tell me that Bishop isn’t coming back this season, her presence changes everything… for the negative. I have stopped watching, and only watch reruns, when everyone seems morelike a family. And everyone clicks…..fingers crossed and hoping she’s gone..never to return… PLEASE

  14. ChristyCate says:

    I think the premiere looks like it’ll be a great ride! Looking forward to lots of positive energy for S12!

  15. Pete says:

    Really looking forward to the season premiere tomorrow. Season 11 was better than the show has been in several years and season 12 looks to be even better.

  16. ZIvafan says:

    Still have not watched since Ziva left and never will again. Show still lost its edge.

  17. Jerome Anthony says:

    Season opener was absolutely terrible. First how is it that all the military personnel on the helicopter die and none of the main characters are injured at all. Secondly when they were able to come on to the jeep with one person standing there why didn’t they take him out and take the jeep instead of blowing it up. Finally it would’ve taken a total of 30 seconds to drive up to the body of Sergei and throw him in the vehicle to take him back. To find out that he is still alive Kinda really doesn’t make sense when they very easily could have determined if he was alive or dead. To say they have to hurry to get out of there, 30 seconds would not have made a difference. Very disappointed as most season openers really opened with a bang and this one was a thud.

    Also starting to find bishop quite annoying. Really miss Ziva.

    Nevertheless still one of my favorite shows.

  18. David Muyco says:

    I think this is a good way to bring Ziva back into the mix.

  19. Way to go Mcgee. loved it

  20. CG59 says:

    Looking forward to some real evil from Veadov. He was a pretty bad guy in ‘Act of Valor’.

  21. mary joy says:

    me i just want mcgee to get stabbed,kidnapped,shot or like dying in the hospital but save in the end just to make him important one of each episode or season in 2015 becouse his the only one in group is slightly injured…,,in the episode he only following order to anyone do these then that please gave him a role that only focus on him.example he got hostage then stabbed on of the suspect or kidnapped that simple.(2)siva came back trying to save mcgee becouse his messing in the job or his apartment.(3)kidnapped of one his number one stalker from the book becouse his a good writer.(4)shot buy one of the very bad CIA agent just to get information from ncis then trying to kill gebbs…,in season 12 very boring no action happend like criminal minds a lot of action the member its getting shot or something bad happed to them.ncis like always something dead navy looking for the killer lab test information very boring to till the truth.