Timothy McGee on NCIS is a terrific example of the strength and quiet power of a beta-hero and one of my current fan girl crushes. As played by Sean Murray, McGee is in some ways the male heart of the team (Abby, I think, is the female heart). I root for him, love watching him succeed, and, yes, would love to be the woman he comes home to who makes him feel like the great man he is.
Beta heroes are harder to define. It’s like some people discuss what they porn is – I don’t know how to describe it, but I know it when I see it. The beta hero are kinder, gentler heroes, the kind of men who will change your flat tire, open doors for you, help your kid with his homework, and bring you soup when you are sick. They are the ones who, in real life, you’d likely want to meet and be with. You see the hero in him before he sees it in himself.
In researching the definition of this increasingly popular archetype, my favorite description came from author Bernadette Rowley (www.bernadetterowley.com) who wrote:
Our beta hero is a diplomat whose confidence will be boosted when he can master a problem. When he rescues his heroine he shines. He is a practical person, a quiet achiever, more likely to walk away from confrontation but that doesn’t mean he can be pushed around. Family is important to him unlike our alpha who is often a loner. The beta hero is prone to hide his feelings behind humor, especially if he has been hurt by a situation. He could appear weak at times, influenced by the desires of others and unable to make quick decisions. His self-sacrificing nature could grate if carried to extreme.
This is the perfect description of McGee who we have seen grow into his power as an NCIS agent and… as a writer, something that makes him even more endearing to me. When he makes mistakes, he owns up to them. When he truimphs where other team mates have failed, he doesn’t gloat. And he is bashful yet unapologetic about his love of gaming.
Yes, if I had to go on a date with any member of the NCIS team – it would be Tim. I am a proud McGeek fan.