Murray’s Most-Loved “NCIS” Episode: A Timeless Classic

Contrary to what might be expected, Sean Murray selected an episode that does not primarily spotlight his character as his favorite, showcasing his discerning taste in storytelling. Speaking to TV Insider, Murray expressed his particular fondness for the Season 2 episode titled “Call of Silence.” He praised Charles Durning, the guest star of the episode, for being as impressive behind the scenes as he was in his on-screen role, describing him as a complete joy.

This episode, which is highly esteemed among “NCIS” fans and stands as the top-rated episode of Season 2 on IMDb, delves into the story of Ernie Yost (played by Durning), a World War II Marine veteran and Medal of Honor recipient who comes to the NCIS team with a confession that he killed his best friend during the Battle of Iwo Jima, burdened by survivor’s guilt.

“Call of Silence” resonates deeply with audiences, providing an emotional depth through its exploration of themes like honor, guilt, and redemption. The narrative is punctuated with poignant moments, such as Caitlin Todd’s (Sasha Alexander) tearful dance with Ernie, and flashbacks to the harrowing experiences of World War II, all of which contribute to the episode’s emotional impact. The portrayal of Ernie, wracked with guilt over his friend’s death, stands as the emotional core of the episode, delivering a performance that tugs at the heartstrings.

Charles Durning’s portrayal of Ernie was pivotal to the episode’s success. With an illustrious career that included two Academy Award nominations and an Emmy nomination for his role on “NCIS,” Durning brought authenticity and gravitas to the role of Ernie. This authenticity was further enriched by Durning’s own history as a World War II veteran, having served during the D-Day Invasion at Omaha Beach in 1944.

Durning’s personal experiences from the war, including a particularly harrowing encounter with a young German soldier as reported by, lent a profound depth to his portrayal of Ernie’s turmoil. This background, coupled with Durning’s stellar performance, cemented “Call of Silence” as a standout episode that skillfully blended historical authenticity with compelling drama.