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The Biggest Mistake McGee Ever Made On NCIS

The characters on NCIS all have their idiosyncrasies, which they've had plenty of opportunity to explore since the show started airing in 2003. Special agent Timothy McGee (Sean Murray) is no exception, with his penchant for jetpacks, his tracking expertise, and his knowledge of cybersecurity and computer-based crime. He started out as a guest character in season one, and fans have reacted positively to the way he's grown and developed over 18 seasons from a shy, geeky, inexperienced member of the team into a less formal senior agent with a family.

But there's one particular aspect of his life which has led to a body count, and that makes it a mistake of epic proportions. As an investigator, of course, McGee has to accept the casualties and other incidents that he's involved in, such as the killing of a suspect in the Season 3 episode "Probie." But it's one of his off-duty pastimes that created a bigger problem, and this makes it the worst thing he's done during the course of the show.

McGee's writing career is revealed over the course of multiple seasons

In the first season episode "Dead Man Talking," McGee's interest in writing first comes up when he's on stakeout with Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly). Surprised that McGee has never seen Airwolf, Tony asks what he does on weekends. "Well, I write," McGee says. "Yeah, try to write. Mysteries." When DiNozzo laughs, McGee seems embarrassed, but his coworker says they're bonding, and asks where he gets his ideas from. When McGee says, "Cases. Like this one," Tony asks if that's plagiarism. 

McGee's clandestine pastime comes up again in the fourth season episode "Twisted Sister," when Tony and Ziva (Cote de Pablo) meet his sister Sarah (Troian Bellisario) and she calls them by their fictionalized names, not knowing that McGee's books are meant to be a secret. They go out and pick up a copy of his novel, Deep Six: The Continuing Adventures of L.J. Tibbs, which he's written under the pseudonym Tom E. Gemcity, and read aloud to him the way they're described in the story. The tale focuses on Sarah's seeming involvement in a murder.

It's about 10 episodes later, in "Cover Story," that the novels become the major plot point of an episode.

In the episode 'Cover Story,' McGee's mistake is revealed

In "Cover Story," the NCIS team investigates two murders, which turn out to be connected to McGee's next book. In the beginning of the episode, he's writing in a cafe while conversing with a barista about his writer's block and having two jobs before getting called to a crime scene. As they learn more about the circumstances of the crimes, McGee realizes that everything that has taken place is part of the book he's currently trying to write, Deep Six: Rock Hollow. Soon, he reveals this to the team, which gives them a starting point as to how to solve the murder.

After this, he admits his books are based on real people, and the petty officer killed at the start was someone he has seen in the drive-thru at his coffee shop. The goal of the team is then to figure out how the currently unpublished details of his story got into the murderer's hands. Suspects include an obsessive fan who've been sending odd letters and McGee's publisher, the only one who has another copy of the unfinished book. Soon, it turns out that there's another victim, and Abby (Pauley Perrette) is put in danger, as well. Thus, McGee's presumably less-dangerous job has resulted in two deaths and a deadly confrontation, inspired by his semi-fictional tales. 

Of course, the plot of his book (well, the perceived plot, anyway) also ends up being the key to confronting and disarming the actual perpetrator, so in the end, McGee makes his mistake right.