NCIS Star Sean Murray Will Break An Impressive Franchise Record In Season 22

A custom image of Sean Murray close up in NCIS


  • Sean Murray breaks broke the franchise record for most appearances in NCIS , surpassing David McCallum in season 22.
  • Murray’s character, Timothy McGee, evolves from rookie to next-in-command, becoming integral to the series.
  • McGee’s character development and progression are crucial for maintaining viewer interest in season 22.

In NCIS season 22, Sean Murray will break an impressive franchise record. The NCIS star portrays Special Agent Timothy McGee, an agent who has been with the series since NCIS season 1. Sean Murray appeared among an impressive cohort of NCIS stars during his time with the show, working alongside every Major Case Response Team (MCRT) member thus far. The special agent is a part of the upcoming season’s current NCIS cast but is also akin to its oldest members. The senior field agent was once a rookie, working under Mark Harmon’s Leroy Jethro Gibbs and Michael Weatherly’s Tony DiNozzo.

NCIS has been on-air for 21 seasons, making any cast members remaining from NCIS season 1 a rare gem. Sean Murray is one of them, and as such, he has achieved many impressive feats in the series. Timothy McGee has climbed the ranks from the MCRT’s rookie member and probationary agent to next-in-command to Alden Parker and Director Leon Vance. As such, McGee plays a crucial role within the franchise. The actor who plays McGee is just as significant, with Sean Murray breaking records as one of the most senior NCIS cast members.

Sean Murray Will Surpass David McCallum For The Most Appearances In NCIS

In NCIS season 22, Sean Murray will surpass David McCallum for the most appearances in the series. The actor portrayed Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard, the team’s chief medical examiner, until David McCallum died at 90. The veteran NCIS actor stayed with the show for as long as possible, departing only with his death. David McCallum died of natural causes in New York City just six days after he celebrated turning 90. The series mirrored the peaceful death of the actor, with Ducky passing away in his sleep. McCallum has appeared in only seven more episodes than Sean Murray.

David McCallum rose to fame portraying the sexy Russian spy Illya Kuryakin in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. from 1964-1968.

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In NCIS season 22, Sean Murray will undoubtedly surpass David McCallum in the number of episodes he is featured in, making Murray the most-featured NCIS actor of all time. Murray has been with the show since its first season and has never taken a break since becoming a series regular in NCIS season 2. As it stands, Murray has been featured in 452 episodes, making passing McCallum’s tally of 459 episodes well within reach in season 22. While it was sad to lose the Ducky character, the franchise honored David McCallum with a Ducky tribute episode in NCIS season 21.

Sean Murray Already Passed Mark Harmon For This NCIS Record

Mark Harmon’s Leroy Jethro Gibbs Was The Face Of NCIS

In NCIS season 20, Sean Murray surpassed Mark Harmon’s appearance throughout the series, with the former Special Agent in Charge appearing in 435 episodes overall. The milestone gave Sean Murray more presence in the franchise than the face of the franchise, putting Sean Murray in a position to become more integral to NCIS than Mark Harmon in the series’ future. McGee is a fan-favorite character, which is why Sean Murray became an NCIS series regular after he was initially only slated for a guest appearance. Murray’s NCIS longevity is a testament to his character’s enduring likability and dedication to NCIS.

If Sean Murray continues portraying Timothy McGee as a series regular, he could soon become more relevant than Leroy Jethro Gibbs.

The shifting dynamic signifies that if Sean Murray continues portraying Timothy McGee as a series regular, he could soon become more relevant than Leroy Jethro Gibbs. While Gibbs was integral to the series’ success, Mark Harmon exited NCIS in season 19, and his character will continue to fade into the backdrop as others rise to prominence. The show has seen nearly three seasons since Harmon parted ways with the role. While it has survived in his absence, it will be essential to push characters like McGee into the forefront of the narrative to benefit from the character’s familiarity.

Why Sean Murray Didn’t Break This Impressive Record Sooner

Recent NCIS Seasons Have Been Cut Short

Cote de Pablo as Ziva, Sean Murray as McGee, and Michael Weatherly as Tony standing together outside in NCIS

Sean Murray didn’t surpass David McCallum’s NCIS appearances sooner because the series experienced a shortened season in season 21 due to the 2023 Writers Guild of America strike. Therefore, NCIS season 21, following David McCallum’s death in season 20, was shortened to 10 episodes. Had the series been an average length, consistently 23 or 24 episodes, then Murray would have trumped McCallum in season 21, shortly after the tribute to the actor in season 21, episode 2. Murray also didn’t appear in every episode of NCIS season 1, or else he would have broken the record by now.

Sean Murray’s debut NCIS appearance is in season 1, episode 7, “Sub Rosa.”

David McCallum made fewer appearances as time passed, with Ducky stepping down as the team’s chief medical examiner. Despite becoming an NCIS historian, Ducky’s NCIS appearances were limited in later seasons. Even so, he’s still the most-featured cast member. Murray also hasn’t surpassed the Scottish actor and musician because NCIS seasons 17 and 18 were shortened due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Jimmy became the team’s chief medical examiner in season 16, so even though the doctor appeared less, the same was true for Murray. NCIS season 22 gives the actor the run he needs to break the record.

How Sean Murray’s Character Can Evolve In NCIS Season 22

Timothy McGee Must Evolve In NCIS Season 22

Sean Murray smiling in his chair with a microphone in front of him on Off Duty: An NCIS Rewatch

Sean Murray’s character must continue evolving in NCIS season 22 to warrant such an extended stay on the show. Throughout NCIS’ 21 seasons, McGee has experienced a fantastic evolution from the team’s rookie NCIS agent to second-in-command to Alden Parker and Director Leon Vance. In NCIS season 21, in the 1000th episode, McGee took over temporarily as NCIS Director. McGee must continue to evolve upward to keep his NCIS presence fresh. While it’s exciting to see McGee as part of the team, his inclusion is also a constant reminder of how much the team has changed.

It would be wise to challenge McGee in NCIS season 22, giving viewers something to talk about regarding Murray’s character. Besides stepping in as temporary director in season 21, Murray had a relatively unaffected season. While Nick Torres almost went to prison and Agent Knight bid farewell to the team, Murray’s character was caught in petty disputes with his wife, Delilah, which brought very few opportunities for his character to develop. If anything, it set him back. McGee needs to stay exciting to viewers, not just beloved. Hopefully, last season set him up for dynamic progression in season 22.

“To This Day…”: NCIS’ McGee Actor Details Injury While Filming Car Wash Scene

Murray’s accomplishment regarding his character’s longevity will hopefully be celebrated in NCIS season 22. The franchise should celebrate Murray with an episode highlighting his character. Ideally, the episode that Murray passes McCallum for the most episodes featured in NCIS will center on Murray and push his character to develop into a new chapter. A dynamic change is warranted to keep Murray’s character exciting as he returns, as he has for the past 20 years, for another season of NCIS. There’s a fraction of a chance Murray will retire in NCIS season 22, leaving McCallum as the victor.


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