The “JAG” spin-off “NCIS” continues to be one of the most watched criminal procedural series, and it’s easy to understand why. The special agents of the Naval Criminal Investigative Services are the focus of the CBS series, which is currently in its 19th season, as they attempt to crack crimes involving the Navy and Marine Corps. The majority of the show’s attention is given to detecting crime and prosecuting those who commit it, although there are also comedic moments. Each episode takes care to spend some time on the personal relationships and personal lives of its team members.
Considering that the show has been on the air since September of 2003, it should come as no surprise that the cast list has seen its share of changes over the years. With veteran actor Mark Harmon stepping back from the series as of October 2021, that leaves only two original NCIS agents in the spotlight — former medical examiner Donald “Ducky” Mallard (David McCallum) and Senior Field Agent Timothy McGee (Sean Murray). The latter character specializes in cybersecurity and computer crime and tends to stand out from his colleagues for a dork — after all, he writes mystery novels based on their job.
On occasion, however, McGee will surprise everyone with a dramatic attitude shift by asserting himself when a scenario calls for it. For instance, in a Season 4 episode of “NCIS,” he makes an uncharacteristically drastic move that jeopardizes everything he’s worked for and brifly strains most of his personal and professional relationships. Here’s how he wound up taking things just a step too far.
Twisted Sister put McGee in a rough spot
In the ninth episode of “NCIS” Season 4, titled “Twisted Sister,” daughter of series producer Donald Bellisario and stepsister of Sean Murray, Troian Bellisario, stars as Timothy McGee’s hot-headed sibling, Sarah, in her final appearance on the program to date. The episode opens with Sarah arriving at her older brother’s apartment, and it doesn’t take long to figure out that something’s terribly wrong. She’s dazed, disheveled, and covered in blood, dropping a bombshell right out of the gate: “I think I killed someone, Tim.”
Tim is as surprised by this revelation as anyone else would be, but he controls his emotions. Tim decides to let her in so she may clean off the “mystery blood” and get some much-needed slumber instead. He makes the audacious decision to call in sick to work the next morning so he can try to crack the case without the assistance of the NCIS team. But when he goes to her institution and sees that his friends are looking into a dead sailor on the campus, he quickly leaves the area.
Though he was certain that sticking his neck out for his sister was the right call, McGee soon came to realize that his career-threatening choices couldn’t remain a secret forever.
McGee loses his cool as Sarah’s case unfolds
Tim makes seemingly every wrong move in this episode for the sake of protecting Sarah. After all, she’s his sister, and despite how guilty she appears — no alibi, no memory of what happened, the victim being an ex-boyfriend she’d threatened to kill, and a history of acting out when she’s drunk — the last thing he wants is for her life to fall to pieces. He does wisely suggest involving NCIS, but she refuses, and it isn’t until they get caught trying to sort the situation out themselves that the truth comes out, causing everyone to finally work together to retrace Sarah’s steps and get some answers.
much after obtaining unexpected leniency from NCIS despite suppressing evidence, McGee snaps at Director Jennifer Shepard (Lauren Holly) and resigns immediately, putting him in much more trouble. It’s true that Gibbs (Harmon) once more demonstrates why the NCIS team is held together by persuading him to stay once his rage has subsided a little, but it’s still a very terrifying scene. Since viewers don’t often see this side of McGee, when it does, you can tell that something is wrong.
Thankfully, everything works out for the McGee family in the end, but getting Sarah’s complex predicament taken care of was no easy feat. To some extent, it’s plain to see why Tim’s usual level-headedness totally disappeared in “Twisted Sister,” but it’s difficult to deny that he overstepped his bounds on this particular occasion.