Writing Is Murder for McGee on 'NCIS'

In a recent episode of FOX's "Bones," forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel) felt just awful when people were being murdered in ways that she described in the best-selling crime novels she writes in her free time.

Just imagine, then, how bad NCIS Special Agent Timothy McGee (Sean Murray) feels when a similar thing happens to him -- and the book in question hasn't even been published yet.

In "Cover Story," the Tuesday, April 10, episode of CBS' "NCIS," McGee and the rest of his team scramble to discover just how someone could have gotten his or her hands on the closely guarded details.

"Under his alter ego Thom E. Gemcity, the anagram for Timothy McGee," Murray says, calling in from a shooting location in downtown Los Angeles, "he's secretly working on his follow-up novel. His first one, 'Deep Six,' was a big success, so he's working on the next one, which is based, again, on the people around him. But it's hard to get him to admit that.

"It appears that some of the cases they start investigating have things that McGee is currently writing in his book. But he's really secretive with his writing and protective of it, especially since the first one was a hit. So he keeps everything under lock and key. No one has access to the manuscript. Pages are shredded."

Since "Deep Six" featured thinly disguised versions of his fellow NCIS team members, this leaves one to wonder is McGee has violated some sort of confidentiality agreement or even national security.

"You'd think, right?" Murray says. "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."

It's also bought him a few things, including a leather designer coat that was ruined in an earlier investigation. Despite this bump in his income, McGee has continued working at the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (no doubt gathering material).

Because of this, Murray is hanging out with fellow cast members in a rather unsavory place. Despite the grim surroundings, Michael Weatherly, who plays Special Agent Tony DiNozzo, can be heard singing in the background.

"We're playing with pretend vomit here on set," Murray says. "It's the movie business. We've found vomit in a place where we shouldn't. Maybe that will lead us somewhere; maybe it won't. I think we're using some sort of potato salad and food dye, or Weatherly's drunk again, and he's throwing up.

"Right now, we are downtown off Alameda, under an overpass with trash everywhere, fake vomit -- which, I'm sure I could find some real vomit somewhere very close. There's trucks rolling by, big cranes. It's a big production here."

While many other TV shows have closed up for the season, "NCIS" is still at work on its 24-episode order. Although it's not a critical darling, it's one of CBS' top-rated shows.

"That's how we knew when we cracked the Top 10," Murray says, "the new bathmats showed up in our trailers."

Except for Weatherly's, since he had already bought a new one.

"Right," Murray says. "That one was actually much nicer than the ones that we got, but, still, the recognition."