McGee has some textbook "geek" checkboxes:

  • old mac computers
  • online role playing games
  • problem retaining girlfriends

However, I don't think McGee does "R", "Python", or "MatLab".

What actual scripting (fast turnaround) language does he use for his "programs" that doesn't require him to take a week to write code that does some amazingly complex function?

I know a ton of admins who use excel. I don't see McGee or Abby using things much more complex than that - how can it qualify as actually technical?

Numb3rs at least, had some mathematica.

If he is a real geek, and not a hand-wavey geek, what are the tools that he uses to do the things he allegedly does? Is he a writer-created cliche or does the movie give details that back up his "geek" credentials?

  • 3
    How much of the show have you seen? His hacking credentials are pretty well shown throughout the show.
    – Catija
    Aug 18, 2015 at 21:45
  • 1
    @Catija hacking, right - youtube.com/watch?v=u8qgehH3kEQ
    – bartuosz
    Aug 19, 2015 at 11:22
  • @bartuosz The character's "abilities" are clearly there... there's no requirement that the actor have those same abilities or that the show know what they're doing at all. The show isn't about hackers or techies, it's a cop show.
    – Catija
    Aug 19, 2015 at 16:20
  • I think in terms of the experience. Personally the "character" - "actor" - "producer" differentiation of what the "actual" McGee is analogous to the pre iFruit computer. Jobs (knightable) minions realized that customers do not buy silicon, plastic, memory, or software - they pay for the user experience. Instead of that being an excuse for a Palm knock-off, they grabbed what the experience was, and built something amazing. If 100 good quality hackers watched every second of footage of McGee - would they see him as one of their "peeps" or would he be something from the uncanny valley? Aug 21, 2015 at 0:05
  • 1
    @EngrStudent certainly the latter... the huge preponderance of tech visualizations in TV and film are extremely wrong, as any programmer can tell you. The reality is that the visualizations on screen must be understandable to non-programmer/hackers... and so they make really obvious graphical choices that look like what graphic designers (and TV/movie producers) imagine programming environments should look like, not what they actually look like.
    – Catija
    Aug 24, 2015 at 0:32

1 Answer 1


NCIS is well known for being completely inaccurate in any and all things technical when it comes to computers, to the point of ridicule. It has no relation to real hacking or programming at all. One episode has Mcgee and Abbey sharing a keyboard to fight a hacker, as in each took half the keyboard to type...

Utterly. Painfully .Wrong.

That said, in universe, McGee has credentials and training in computers. We learn in Season 1 Episode 7 he graduated highly from MIT.

He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biomedical engineering from Johns Hopkins University and a Master of Science degree in computer forensics from MIT. His college GPA was 3.9

He also did it fairly young. He is considered an expert in Cyber Security and regularly hacks into top level security networks of other US and International intelligence and Crime Fighting departments, without getting caught most of the time.

  • It's still a million times better than CSI Cyber, that thing hurts the eyes bad.
    – cde
    Aug 29, 2015 at 5:20

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