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Why McGee's Father Is Such A Polarizing Character For NCIS Fans

Don't let their reputation as a crack crime-solving team fool you: the "NCIS" squad is made up of quite a few people with some major personality quirks. There's Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly) and his adult frat-bro antics, Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon) and his intense brooding nature, and Abby Sciuto's (Pauley Perrette) case of arrested development. Amongst them all, though, is Tim McGee (Sean Murray), who is relatively even-keeled.

While viewers get bits and pieces of McGee's backstory throughout the series, it's the Season 10 episode "Squall" that really does a deep dive into his past thanks to the introduction of his father, Admiral John McGee (Jamey Sheridan). In stark contrast to McGee's generally affable and kind demeanor, Admiral McGee is dismissive, exacting, and highly critical of his son. When the team must investigate a murder that took place on his ship, Admiral McGee openly criticizes his son in front of his co-workers and superiors, bringing old wounds to the surface.

Their dynamic is certainly a fascinating one but for some fans of the series, it doesn't quite all add up. In a Reddit thread titled "McGee's father just doesn't seem to make sense for his character?" user u/azulamazing gave a blunt assessment of the characters' relationship: "I just can't really buy him as McGee's father? ... McGee just doesn't act like someone who was raised by such a person."

Here's what else they and other fans had to say.

Fans disagree about the dynamic between McGee and his father

In their introductory post, u/azulamazing elaborated, "But McGee... I don't see any of his father or his father's influence in him ... McGee has always struck me as having this sort of quiet resilience that comes from well-raised kids ... not this weird, absent, emotionally abusive robot."

However, not everyone agreed with that take. User u/kiwi_g_g offered an alternate opinion, writing, "In the beginning of the show McGee is neurotic and insecure, unsure of how to deal with tony and Kate's ribbing. That to me, seemed to fit his story of being raised by a super strict father who values order more than affection."

Similarly, u/Aandiarie_QueenofFa pointed out, "Mcgee's dad was almost never home. His mom and another person was the biggest influence in his life. He also did pick up new habits, beliefs, confidence, and etc. when he started working for NCIS."

With so many differing opinions, the thread turned into a lively debate. User u/azulamazing defended their initial assessment several times. "I also had a fairly absentee father who worked overseas – and believe me, it leaves a mark, probably a bigger mark than if he had been around," they noted in reply to one user. "I just do not see that in Tim, at all. I mean Tony's father was also absent, but you can still see his influence in a very big way."

Regardless of where you fall on this debate, the fact that there is one at all at least means that this is one "NCIS" storyline that gave fans something to talk about.