|Timothy "Tim" McGee|
Sean Murray as Tim McGee in a promotional photo for NCIS.
|First appearance||"Sub Rosa"|
|Portrayed by||Sean Murray|
|Occupation||Special agent, Major Case Response Team Field Agent, NCIS (Seasons 2–present), Norfolk Case Agent and Major Case Response Team TAD Field Agent, NCIS (Season 1)|
|Family||Admiral John McGee (father, deceased)
Sarah McGee (sister)
Penelope Langston (grandmother)
Timothy "Tim" McGee (// ma-GEE or // mə-GEE) is a fictional character from the CBS television series NCIS. He is portrayed by Sean Murray. Timothy McGee is a special agent investigating crime in this police procedural show; his specialty is cybersecurity and computer crime. However, he is regularly called on by Leroy Jethro Gibbs to do on-site forensics as well - he is an exceptional tracker - as well as to aid in performing arrests; he's competent with a bulletproof vest and his sidearm as well. Within the show's fiction, he is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and MIT and the most accomplished computer technician in the cast, regularly working with Abby Sciuto on computer forensics and with his mentor Tony DiNozzo on physical forensics. He started out as a minor character in the first season, but became one of the main characters of the ensemble cast in the beginning of season two. His nickname is "McGeek".
McGee was born in Bethesda, Maryland  on September 13, 1978 to an Irish American family. He spent his childhood in Alameda, California, as his father was a naval officer stationed there. His parents bought him his first car the day he turned sixteen – a 1984 Camaro Z28 5-speed. However, he crashed into a bus while trying to figure out how to use the windshield wipers. He got a student pass the day he got out of traction. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biomedical engineering from Johns Hopkins University and a Master of Science degree in computer forensics from MIT. His college GPA was 3.9, he failed a fencing class in his Sophomore year. He worked for a time at the NCIS field office in Norfolk, Virginia before being transferred to the headquarters in the Washington Navy Yard which was made permanent at the end of the episode "See No Evil".
Special Agent Timothy McGee, commonly referred to by Special Agent Tony DiNozzo as "Probie", "McGeek", "McQueen", "McGoo", "Probie wan kenobi", or even "Baldy McBald" (referring to his less-haired appearance) is part of a major case squad led by Special Agent Gibbs. He gained his field agent status when he was transferred to Washington from Norfolk.
In addition to responding to crime scenes and conducting investigations (along with the rest of the field team), McGee also serves as Gibbs' computer consultant and sometimes assists Abby Sciuto in the forensics lab when necessary. Since Ziva David became an agent, Tony began calling her "Probie" or "Probette", but still uses variations of Tim's last name, such as "McGeek" and other names.
During the first few seasons, McGee was portrayed as timid and inexperienced. In the Season 3 episode "Probie", he was visibly shaken after killing his first victim, even though it was in self-defense and his teammates backed him in the subsequent investigation; when questioned about McGee's guilt, Gibbs commented that McGee "doesn't know how to lie". His character was almost entirely altered by episode 6.12 "Caged", evolving into a bolder and more assertive character. Following Gibbs' brief retirement and Tony's subsequent promotion he becomes the senior field agent. He takes on the role very seriously, gaining Tony's respect. Tony later stops calling him "Probie" and starts calling him "Tim". He is shown to be very protective of his younger sister, Sarah, especially when she shows up after apparently committing a murder; wherein he hides the case from his own team in order to protect her while simultaneously launching an investigation into the case in the episode "Twisted Sister" until he was caught when Agent Gibbs answered his sister's cell phone in Abby's lab.
Timothy McGee has green eyes and brownish-blond hair. He was overweight until the end of Season 6; during the seventh season, he was shown to be losing weight. When DiNozzo pesters him about it, McGee replies that he has lost 15 pounds. McGee's weight loss led to speculation that Sean Murray, the actor who portrays McGee, was ill; in October 2010 Murray, via his Twitter account, explained that it was a deliberate weight loss via dieting, consuming only organic food and abstaining from alcohol and sugar. Murray has lost 25 pounds.
McGee has a passion for jet packs, computers and enjoys playing games relating to tactical warfare and covert infiltration. This is shown to be an interest shared by his sister Sarah, as seen in the episode "Red Cell", when she takes over his live war game as he leaves his apartment. In the episode "Broken Bird", his first computer was revealed to have been a Mac SE, followed by a PowerBook, and finally a PC. He uses a Logitech Y-SAE71-SK-2930 keyboard to carry out his everyday work.
In the episode "Ignition", he discusses his fascination with jet packs, even going so far as to show Gibbs a film he has made about them (produced under his pen name "Thom E. Gemcity"). Gibbs allows McGee to take the lead in the case because of this knowledge.
McGee is also shown to be an expert tracker, being able to find a cadaver without the assistance of dogs by reading changes in the land and observing bird droppings. He revealed he was a scout, which occupied his time while his father was deployed. He even said "I love the outdoors", much to the chagrin of the more city-like DiNozzo. However, at least twice McGee has encountered poison ivy and suffered severe rashes.
Deep Six series
In the episode "Dead Man Talking", it is revealed that McGee writes mystery/crime stories, and in the episode "Twisted Sister", it is revealed he has published a book entitled Deep Six. It became known in the episode "Cover Story" that McGee has been successful as a writer, and garnered a fanbase. It was kept a secret from the NCIS team for a long time. Under his pseudonym "Thom E. Gemcity" (an anagram of "Timothy McGee"), he has penned at least two novels as part of the Deep Six series, one published and one in progress. The title of the first book, Deep Six: The Continuing Adventures of L.J. Tibbs (whose name and character are based on Leroy Jethro Gibbs) suggests there have been previous novels, but these have yet to be named, though the cover of McGee's first revealed book states that it is volume one. The next of McGee's books to be released, and sequel to its predecessor is entitled Deep Six: Rock Hollow. Sean Murray commented, "As Thom E. Gemcity, he takes many liberties. I don't know if he knew the first book was going to be as successful as it was. But now he's got to run with it. I'm sure success has just increased his level of anxiety." In the episode "Cover Story", Rock Hollow becomes a focus point in that the NCIS team are investigating two murders (both committed because their killer thought they had robbed a convenience store and killed the clerk, as it was written in the book), when McGee is pressured to, and reveals everything that has taken place has been part of the book he is currently writing. It is then discovered that the story was stolen from the typewriter ribbon McGee threw away, and that Abby could be the next victim.
McGee's writing has given him enough fame to be feted as a minor celebrity and he can enjoy perks such as VIP clubbing, as seen in the episode "Friends and Lovers". McGee has ostensibly used the profits from his writing to purchase a Porsche Boxster (seen in the episode "Twisted Sister") and an Armani leather jacket (seen in the episode "Dead Man Walking"). He later mentions that he put the rest into a hedge fund, which crashed.
The characters in McGee's books are actually based on the NCIS team, with Leroy Jethro Gibbs as L.J. Tibbs, Anthony DiNozzo as Tommy, Ziva David as Lisa, Abby Sciuto as Amy Sutton, Jimmy Palmer as Pimmy Jalmer, and himself as McGregor. In the episode "Smoked", it is shown that in his novel Deep Six, McGee portrays "Tommy" and "Lisa" as lovers, "Pimmy" as a necrophiliac (a reference to Jimmy's job as Ducky's assistant in the autopsy room) and "Tibbs" as in love with a Lt. Col. (mirroring Gibbs' brief relationship with Lt Col Hollis Mann). Unimpressed, Tony and Ziva subject McGee to relentless teasing and tormenting for the rest of the episode. Jimmy especially disliked his portrayal and refuses to give McGee a ride back to NCIS headquarters.
In the Season 11 premiere, McGee began dating Delilah Fielding (Margo Harshman), a Department of Defense "cryptologist in a dark office" the team meets while investigating a case. In the episode "Alleged", Tony claims that McGee has been "emancipated from coupledom" but McGee clarifies that Delilah has actually "[landed] a dream job half-way around the world". Delilah had been assigned to Dubai and McGee gave her a copy of his house key, which she accepts, reiterating her intent to move in with him after her assignment is over.
As the junior field agent of the team, McGee is often subject to teasing from DiNozzo and Kate/Ziva, often together (though Kate and Ziva's teasing is not as mean-spirited as DiNozzo's), and, to some extent, Gibbs, though he doesn't come to head-smack him until later, unlike Kate and DiNozzo, who do so simultaneously on the day of his promotion almost immediately after Tim mentioned the word 'hazing'. In one episode, Gibbs walked into the lab, found him lying on the floor on his back while working on the underside of Abby's hotbox, and quipped, "Special Agent Goodwrench?" In "Forced Entry", he is tricked by Tony and Kate into drinking Gibbs' coffee, which is considered a major taboo. In subsequent episodes, Tony often pulls his seniority card by taking advantage of McGee's naivete and tricking him into performing less desirable tasks such as searching for a gun in a muddy ditch with only a metal detector and bagging bear poo while investigating a bear attack, brushing off McGee's protests with "because I can". In "Singled Out", a frustrated McGee futilely tells Tony to stop calling him "probie"; Gibbs later tells McGee that his former mentor Mike Franks still calls him "probie" even though he retired nearly a decade ago. McGee's most notable nicknames come from DiNozzo, either "Probie", due to his junior (probational) status on the team, or "McGeek", alluding to McGee's intelligence. DiNozzo uses multiple variations on both of these names to make fun of McGee, some of which are clever but not demeaning (McGPS, McProof, The Great McOz), some which are mocking (McLawyer, McGiggle, McGoo, McNerd, McFlowerPower), some of which seem irrelevant (McTim), and some intended to deliberately cause offence (Baldy McBald). When Tony discovers that McGee's online gaming name was "Elf Lord", it is often referenced by the team members through jokes and light-hearted teasing; Gibbs has occasionally called him Elf Lord in Season 5.
As with most new agents who had experience with Gibbs, McGee finds him difficult to work with due to his unorthodox management style and unpredictable temperament, with Tony constantly giving him tips on how to get along with Gibbs. Initially he is intimidated by Gibbs, especially after incurring his wrath having accidentally drunk or spilled his coffee several times during his earlier seasons. Gibbs himself is shown to gain more respect of McGee over time, as his personality matures and he becomes a more assertive character. Gibbs has also shown substantial trust and faith in his abilities over the course of time. In the episode "Witness", Gibbs sent McGee to check out a possible murder of a Navy Petty Officer and let him decide whether to call an investigation. He let McGee accompany him into the interrogation room while still a "probie" and allows him interrogate a suspect alone as early as the Season 3 episode "Deception". McGee is always shown as a computer consultant to Gibbs.
Ziva has had a friendly relationship with McGee since her start at NCIS. It resembles one of brother and sister. While Ziva teases McGee a great deal, often with Tony, they remain on friendly terms (Ziva's teasing is far more playful than Tony's, who takes a much more sadistic approach to the pranks he pulls on McGee). McGee was the first person to point out that Ziva was avoiding Tony at the start of season 7 and that sooner or later she would have to straighten out that relationship. He is much more comfortable and confident around Ziva than her predecessor, Kate Todd.
McGee lives near Ziva, in Silver Spring (a Maryland suburb of DC). When Ziva was in Israel between seasons 5 and 6, she and McGee e-mailed each other once a week. McGee has been to Ziva's house at least once, he was invited to her dinner party in season 3. McGee was also the one to show Ziva some ways to work from the area they live, and in return she gave him an apple – which Tony immediately stole before McGee was aware of the gift. Throughout season 7 as Ziva prepares to become an American citizen McGee supports her, even testing her, and attends her naturalization ceremony.
When McGee was introduced in "Sub Rosa", Todd protested DiNozzo's apparent abuse of authority when he ordered McGee to stay on a crime scene until someone else can come to relieve him. Todd and McGee were partnered for a very short time during the episode "UnSEALed", during which he came to her help when she was tied up by a former Navy SEAL.
Throughout Season 2, DiNozzo and Todd would sometimes gang up on McGee to tease him, but Todd generally disapproved of DiNozzo's pranks and hazing of McGee. After the murder of a witness under McGee's watch, Todd was the first to try to comfort him.
In the episode "See No Evil", the air conditioning of the building is down. McGee tries to personally upgrade the network wiring since the union won't do it due to the heat. When Kate discovers him under her desk, she believes McGee is trying to look up her skirt and despite McGee's protests, drags him up from underneath by his ears. Seconds later, McGee tells Tony he didn't look and Tony says he believes him, only for him to ask if Kate is a "pantyhose or a thong girl" but McGee doesn't reply as Kate responds by elbowing DiNozzo in the stomach.
After Todd's death, like the rest of the grief-stricken team, McGee had to cope with the loss of a friend, and like DiNozzo would fantasize about her. Later, McGee is shown mourning with DiNozzo over Todd's dead body.
Following Gibbs' retirement, McGee is promoted to Senior Field Agent after DiNozzo was promoted to Team Leader, after which Tony displays increased respect for McGee. With Ziva's departure in the episode "Aliyah", McGee is promoted to be Tony's partner in the field, and their relationship in the episode "Truth or Consequences" is shown to be friendly. For example, Tony used McGee's first name, Tim, more often and hasn't called him 'Probie' since season seven began. However, despite his junior status on the team, it is apparent that, despite teasing, he is on friendly, even familial, terms with every member of the team.
In "Probie", McGee, who was deeply shaken after killing someone (later revealed to be an undercover policeman) in self-defense, later confesses to Tony feelings of inferiority to the rest of the team as he is the only field agent on Gibbs' team to have little experience in using weapons compared to his colleagues (Tony was a cop, Gibbs was a sniper, Kate was previously in the Secret Service while Ziva was a highly skilled Mossad operative).
In Season 11, with the transfer of Eleanor "Ellie" Bishop from NSA to NCIS, McGee has begun to assert to seniority, now that Tony has stopped calling him "probie". He used some of Tony's old pranks on Bishop, such using a trick coin when tossing to see who has to retrieve a corpse from a septic tank.
McGee had an extended relationship with forensics technician Abby Sciuto in season one, but there is no direct reference to their relationship ending. However, despite this, they are still very close and often tease each other about their previous relationship/dates (sexual jokes, suggestive comments, etc.), and in some instances Abby has shown jealousy of attention women have given McGee. In contrast to Tony DiNozzo, McGee has had few relationships, or possible ones, almost all of which have begun and ended in the same episode.
In "Sub Rosa", McGee's first appearance in Season 1, McGee asks Tony about Abby. Tony responds that she is not his type, stating that as he has never had the urge to tattoo his butt, they would have little in common. At the end of the episode, McGee tells Tony that he went to get the word 'Mom' tattooed on his butt to impress Abby.
In Season 5 McGee has issues with a girl who stole his heart and his credit, when he asks for help from Abby she tells him "I love you McGee and that should be enough", which hints that Abby has feelings for McGee.
When in stressful or uncomfortable situations, as seen in the episode "Grace Period", while trying to deal with the death of a friend, McGee will often retreat to the forensics lab for reassurance from Abby.
McGee owns a dog called Jethro, that was accused of murdering a Petty Officer during the Season 5 episode, "Dog Tags". Abby looked after him and named him after Gibbs, but because her landlord wouldn't let her have a dog in her apartment, she forced McGee to take him much to his dismay as the dog had attacked McGee at the beginning of "Dog Tags", forcing him to shoot it in the side, a through-and-through flesh wound.
Aside from Gibbs' basement, McGee's home has been shown in the most number of episodes of all the series' characters. Various characters have been inside at one point or another; namely Tony DiNozzo, Ziva David, Caitlin Todd, Sarah McGee, Abby Sciuto and Abby's previous boyfriend/stalker, Mikel.
At the end of Season 8, however, there is a very tender moment between the two of them and McGee tells Abby "If something ever happened to you I would." This indicates that he has feelings for Abby and worries about her, also that he cares and wants to protect her.
In the Season 9 episode, "Life Before His Eyes" Abby and McGee are shown as a happy couple in the alternate reality scenarios.
Doctor Donald Mallard
Ducky is one of the few individuals to use McGee's full given name of Timothy as illustrated in the episode "See No Evil". As with Abby, Ducky at times adopts a fatherly attitude towards Tim as demonstrated in the fourth season episode entitled "Smoked". It seems that Ducky's fatherly relationship with McGee mellows into one of mutual respect.
In the episode "Collateral Damage" a discussion occurred between Gibbs and Director Vance in which, they discussed what qualities the ideal NCIS agent should possess. During the discussion Director Vance told Gibbs that in his view McGee exemplified the model NCIS agent, in sharp contrast to Gibbs who prefers agents in the mold of DiNozzo. During "Enemies Domestic", McGee seemed pretty shaken-up and almost distraught after seeing the extent of Vance's injuries following the explosion.
Several members of McGee's family have appeared in the series over the years. His younger sister, Sarah, first mentioned in the Season 2 episode, "See No Evil", plays a prominent role in the fourth season episode, "Twisted Sister". The two seem to differ greatly in personality, but are very close, as McGee helps clear Sarah as a potential murder suspect, and is willing to risk his NCIS career to do so. Sarah McGee is portrayed by Troian Bellisario, Murray's real-life step-sister, and daughter of series creator and former executive producer Donald P. Bellisario.
In "Hide and Seek", it is revealed that McGee's father is a naval officer, and stationed in California. In "The Penelope Papers", it is revealed that McGee also has a grandmother, Penelope Langston, played by Lily Tomlin. While talking to Penelope, McGee reveals that he and his father have not spoken in seven years; Penelope and McGee agree that McGee's father is like Gibbs, in that both love McGee, but have difficulty expressing their affection. The casting of Jamey Sheridan as McGee's father was announced in February 2013. The role was described as "complex and layered" by executive producer Gary Glasberg, and in the late March episode "Squall", Sheridan appeared as Admiral John McGee. The admiral is initially considered as a prime suspect; only to reveal that he has been sick for a while and tried to keep it quiet. Tony has described McGee's family situation as akin to the film The Great Santini in "The Penelope Papers" and several other episodes and the admiral himself admitted to Tim his regret in not spending as much time as he should have with his family.
Some episodes are particularly insightful to McGee and reveal certain facets of his personality or his past:
- "Witness": McGee must investigate when a single woman said she witnessed a murder.
- "Probie": During a protection mission, McGee kills a policeman. He takes it pretty hard, seeing as he believed the policeman was a drug dealer trying to kill him when in fact he was an undercover DC Metro officer.
- "Twisted Sister": McGee's sister Sarah shows up at McGee's door, her hands bloodied and thinking she killed her ex-boyfriend, a Navy Petty Officer. McGee hides evidence of his sister's supposed crime and launches a secret investigation into the affair.
- "Cover Story": A man is inspired to commit murder by McGee's book; McGee is pressured to determine where the murderer will strike next.
- "Caged": McGee is taken hostage in a women's prison.
- "Defiance": NCIS is assigned to protect the daughter of an important politician whose attempted assassination killed a U.S Marine. Aside from the sparks flying between her and McGee, Adriana is only interested in keeping her independence. But things take a turn for the worss, when she is supposedly kidnapped.
- "Kill Screen": A dead Marine's girlfriend becomes a key witness to a murder investigation, and McGee's computer skills become important in solving the murder.
- "The Penelope Papers": McGee's grandmother Penelope Langston is a person of interest, and almost a victim, in a murder investigation.
- "Squall": McGee's father (a four star admiral) is seen for the first time and their complicated past is revealed.
The character's seeming inexperience in the field during early seasons was noted by critics, with Bill Keveney of USA Today describing him as "a wet-behind-the-ears computer expert" in 2005. A few months later, Noel Holston from Sun Sentinel styled McGee as the "newer, nerdier agent" of the group. In 2007, television historian Tim Brooks described him as "the earnest, conservative probationary agent with invaluable computer skills who was often the victim of Tony's pranks".
The Daily News referred to McGee as "the requisite tech wizard" of the show. Alyssa Rosenberg from The Washington Monthly suggested that the characters of McGee, "an MIT-educated geek who writes thinly veiled novels about the team", and Abby Sciuto appear as "liberal stand-ins" in contrast to more conservative figures on NCIS, such as Gibbs and Tony DiNozzo. None of the characters' political beliefs are specified within the series, and Rosenberg stated that, as a result, the show does not "demand that the audience take sides in divisive issues".
|This article relies too much on references to primary sources. (December 2008)|
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