Five years after graduating from Plano Senior High School, Charles Kinder is returning to the classroom. But this time, 16 million people will watch his every move. That’s because Charles will be walking through high school hallways as a guest star on “NCIS,” where he will play a younger version of lead character Timothy McGee in an episode premiering at 7 p.m. Feb. 19 on CBS.
“It was wonderful filming ‘NCIS,’” said Charles. “A lot of hard work brought me to this role, and no matter the final takes used, it was a learning experience that set the foundation for my continual growth inside the industry and within the craft itself.”
Chances are, you’ve seen or at least heard of “NCIS.” It is the second longest-running and currently airing, non-animated, scripted TV series in the country. Centering around the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, a special team that investigates crimes within the Navy and Marine Corps, it’s one of the most watched shows in the U.S.
The episode Charles appears in is titled “Once Upon a Tim.” It’s about senior NCIS agent and computer geek, Timothy McGee (played by Sean Murray), who is assigned to a case that leads him to return to his hometown. Charles plays young McGee and is featured in a flashback in almost every scene.
Charles credits his teachers in Plano ISD schools for helping put him on this path. He attended Plano’s Davis Elementary, and later studied acting under Diane Worman and Jonathan Taylor at Haggard Middle; Chuck Perryman at Vines High; and Karen Wilbanks, Greg Arp and Lance Morse at Plano Senior High. “These people have had such an impact on my life; I’m forever indebted,” explained Charles.
“I’m always extremely proud when our students ‘make it’ in the industry,” said Greg Arp, now the Plano ISD speech and theatre coordinator, who worked with Charles during the 2012-13 school year. “It takes a lot of hard work, determination and rejection to make it. To be featured in a role on a well-known television show like ‘NCIS’ is a great compliment and deserves to be recognized.”
Charles has a few more projects in the works, but has to keep them confidential for now. He currently lives in Los Angeles, where he says he moved to “wholeheartedly commit to acting” after enrolling and dropping out of college twice – first as an acting major at Pace University in New York City and later as a philosophy major at the University of North Texas.
Even though he is far from home, he still looks back at his childhood in Plano fondly. “I felt safe enough to go exploring with my friends and close enough to my community that – despite its size – still felt like a tiny town where everyone knew each other.”
When a Plano student succeeds in following his or her dreams, the entire community benefits. Congratulations, Charles. We can’t wait to see you onscreen next Tuesday.
The episode “Once Upon a Tim” airs at 7 p.m. Feb. 19 on CBS.