Interview: Sean Murray

From the interview archives.

Best known as Special Agent Timothy McGee, actor Sean Murray has been an integral part of the NCIS family for fifteen years. VULKAN caught up with Sean to talk about what situations he’d hope to see Tim tackle going forward and what he’s learned from the role. 

You’ve been playing Timothy McGee on NCIS for 15 years now. Is there a situation you would like to see Tim tackle in the future that he hasn’t yet?

I would like to see Tim in an extended, big, fun action sequence that we have never seen before. See him have a Tarantino moment. 

How do you keep the character fresh for yourself? At this point, do you know everything there is to know about him?

You never really know everything about your character even after 15 years. I am constantly getting tidbits from the writers of my character’s past that we didn’t know about. But also over the past 15 years we have learned so much about all the characters, and its been progressive, so the character’s always feel fresh. 

In an alternate universe where he could not be involved in cybercrime, what do you think he would be doing for work?

NCIS is a civilian job. I believe he would follow in the steps of his father who is a Navy Admiral, so join a branch of the military. But probably the Navy that would be my first guess. 

What’s one thing you’d like to say to the diehard fans that have been watching the series since its inception? 

First thank you. Secondly, keep watching because we’ve kept it interesting for the past 15 years and we don’t plan to differ from that line. 

If you – as you – were to take Tim somewhere that would marvel and amaze him, where would you take him?

Tokyo, Japan, because Tim is a computer geek. But also because I personally would like to see Tokyo, Japan or Japan in general. So I would just take him with me but it would really just be a trip for me.

What is one thing you’ve learned about life and love that you’d consider a staple for healthy relationships?

Happy Wife, Happy Life. It is really true. I am only happy when the people around me are happy. 

One of your earlier roles was that of Thackery in the fan-favourite Hocus Pocus. Would you have reprised your role if they were creating a sequel with the original cast? 

It would have to do with the script, what the involvement would be. Who knows if they would ever do that, or even want to see characters from the first movie. If it were something interesting I would consider it. 

Are you surprised at all that the film has held on so strongly with fans?

Yes, when we made it, it was a great experience but when it came out it wasn’t a hit. I remember it only made about 5 million dollars at the box office the opening weekend and it came in 5th, not a lot of hub over it. Over the years, with the disney marketing, it has become a timeless thing. It’s like a Rocky Horror Picture Show for some people. They reenact the characters. There are even drag shows with Hocus Pocus. There is one local show that I saw with my wife, that was fun. It is pretty cool that it remains so culturally cool. In fact the movie just had its 25th anniversary. 

Given your experience in the industry, in your eyes, what is one change that could be implemented into the industry that would create more opportunity for minority groups and women?

Real life is a mixing pot of people. If you want to reflect reality, so should these shows and these movies. I remember seeing an interview with John Leguizamo where he was saying it was 6 years before he got a part that didn’t have to do with his race. 

What’s one show that you can’t stop watching these days?

I’ve never told anyone this, Vanderpump Rules. It’s a reality show and its awful and cheesy but I love it. 

Can you share with us a piece of advice given to you by your NCIS castmates or coworkers that you would pass on to fellow actors?

Working a one-hour show in the business is one of the best jobs there is. It is very rewarding. But it is also one of the hardest jobs so you better be ready to work if you’re going to do a one-hour show. That is something everyone would say. 

You come from a very talented family and even act alongside your step sister. What does a family gathering look/sound like when you all get together? 

It looks like anyone else’s get together. At Thanksgiving Troian made a mean lentil salad. 

Have your kids expressed an interest in acting yet? Would you support them in that if they did? 

Yes, my daughter has expressed an interest in acting. She does theater in school. She is just getting into middle school, so we are not looking into her doing this professionally yet. But at this point, she is really enjoying doing her plays. She does a lot of programs in and out of school and we support that. In my early years I probably would of said if I had daughter I wouldn’t want her to be in the business, but really when it comes down to it you just want them to be happy. So if my daughter wanted to become part of the industry that included television or film I would support that. 

Anything else upcoming that we should keep an eye out for? 

Nothing at the moment but stay tuned. 

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