So long, Mike FranksMay 13, 2011
Last year about this time, I was in North Carolina at the Gideon Film Festival to meet some of my online friends and to hopefully get a chance to meet Muse Watson, the actor who plays Mike Franks on NCIS. We had gone down the road for breakfast and then returned to the conference center and sat on the patio, enjoying the sunshine and the company when up the stairs came a group led by the long, lean, silver haired actor we’d come to see.
Muse walked over to our group, chatting with us for 45 minutes about NCIS, Shakespeare, and the real story of his missing finger. Like a proud papa, he told us about his daughter, her horseback riding, and a party she’d gone to at Danny DeVito’s home. I grew to like and to respect this man who took so much time to visit with fans.
The following September the same 3 fans met up again in Hollywood for NCIS FanFest. Muse was there and when he saw us, he told those in line waiting to meet him that we’d followed him across the country. He posed for pictures, signed the pictures we’d brought of our group we’d taken in NC, and visited for a few minutes. He meets so many people and knows no stranger.
I follow Muse on Facebook and I know that he was hoping for another chance for Mike to make the trip to visit his Probie. The fans started letter writing campaigns, but I was having trouble figuring out what story was left to tell. There are only so many things you can do with a retired NCIS agent, and with the Mexico storyline wrapped up, it seemed to me that we might have seen the last of Mike. I’d hoped maybe he’d rebuild on his little patch of heaven and live out his days napping in the sun and drinking cervesas. The alternative…well…we saw that this week.
The title of the episode, “Swan Song” was ominous. Seeing Mike’s name in the PR for the episode raised alarms. The Hamlet’s ghost-like sneak preview had me thinking there had to be a way around the obvious. I was wrong.
I’m going to miss Mike Franks. When he showed up he brought depth to Gibbs’ character. He was just starting to do the same with Tony, and I was hoping for some quality Franks/McGee interaction. But what’s more, I’m sorry that Muse lost such a great recurring gig. I’m hoping he doesn’t have to fall back on serial killer roles, especially since Mike was killed by one.
Here’s to Mike Franks. He was one of a kind. And here’s to Muse Watson. May he find another gig that is as kind to him as NCIS was.