How NCIS Is Handling The Aftermath Of Gibbs Shooting McGee, According To Sean Murray

Spoilers below for anyone who hasn't yet watched NCIS' latest episodes, "Sunburn" and "Head of the Snake."

For a few months now, NCIS fans have been dealing with the mystery surrounding the premiere episode shocker in which Mark Harmon's Gibbs intentionally shot Sean Murray's McGee. That situation was thankfully cleared up in the CBS drama's latest double-episode airing. Or, to be more clear, the unanswered questions surrounding that situation were cleared up, though it sounds like GIbbs' actions will remain a point of consideration, if not contention, between the two friends and colleagues.

As the episode explained things, Gibbs' decision to shoot McGee was justified, since the latter was attempting to make his way onto an explosive-filled plane without working comms, all in an effort to save Emily Wickersham's kidnapped Bishop, who wasn't even on the plane. So it was realistically the choice between getting shot in the arm and the leg, or having his entire body turned to mush via explosion. But while Sean Murray confirmed that McGee survives the ordeal and lives on, it'll be with something of a heavy heart. Here's how he explained the aftermath to TV Insider:

A lot of it is not necessarily just physical but emotional. Just wrestling with and coming to terms with — even in the situation of it being done to save your life — the fact that somebody so close to you, that's like a father figure to you, more so than even your real father was, shoots you.

Indeed. Even if all the facts were laid out in front of him, and even if he was able to fully acknowledge that everything Gibbs did was for the greater good to help keep McGee alive, it still required Gibbs to put McGee in the crosshairs and make the choice to put a pair of bullets in him. It's not the kind of deliberation that friends and coworkers usually have to deal with, so it'll take some time for McGee to come around to understanding. Sean Murray continued, saying:

It's not like McGee just throws on a Band-Aid and says, 'We're good, Boss.' We very realistically explore some of the emotions and thoughts of the aftermath of what that really would be in dealing with that. Just the shock of what it is and the reality of, how do we face this and move past this?

Even though Gibbs is precisely the kind of character that can take down whoever he deems necessary without putting a whole lot of excess after-thought into it, fans will likely see some kind of contemplative reaction from Mark Harmon's leader. Especially if McGee does make things somewhat awkward with his interactions upon recuperating from his wounds. I'm guessing they won't be playing any parodies of Bon Jovi's "You Give Love a Bad Name."

ncis gibbs shot mcgee on gurney

(Image credit: cbs press)

Sean Murray confirmed that Maria Bello's soon-to-exit character Jack Sloane will put her therapist skills to work, though her impact can only go so far, seeing as how she and Gibbs are still a potential item, skewing her objectivity. However it goes, fans know that McGee and Gibbs have been working together ever since NCIS's first season, with Murray's character formally joining the team in Season 2. So there's likely nothing that could cause a permanent rift between the two characters at this point, though there ARE still quite a few episodes left to go in Season 18.

New episodes of NCIS air on CBS on Tuesday nights at 8:00 p.m. ET. To see what other new and returning shows are on the way in the near future, head to our Winter and Spring TV premiere schedule.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.