A drama series about Dr. Phil McGraw? Well, not the Dr. Phil we know from Oprah Winfrey and daytime TV but the younger guy we didn’t know.

The TV therapist stopped by TCA today with the cast and creators behind Bull, the CBS’ upcoming fall show based on his early days as head of one of the most prolific trial-consulting services.


The show centers on Dr. Jason Bull (Michael Weatherly from NCIS), who runs Trial Sciences Inc., a company that analyzes juries to help develop defense strategies. Sometimes the system is rigged against the average Joe, and Bull’s services help counter that. He has a physicality and feral intelligence that make him a chick magnet, and a bruising candor.

Bull EP Mark Goffman said, “The average person doesn’t get a fair trial, and in the field that Dr. Phil pioneered, it looks at the application of psychology in the judicial system and what motivates people.”

Said McGraw during the panel: “It’s not an autobiographical, it’s ‘inspired by.’ I like the way the show tracks how we did the right thing and tried to take the higher moral ground in these cases. We kept the moral compass. Sometimes the law doesn’t always get it right.”

Cases on the show won’t just be based in New York but also Oklahoma and Silicon Valley.

McGraw was trained in forensic psychology and served as an officer of the court. But despite being court appointed, “we didn’t always get to pick our clients. But there were two types of people we wouldn’t represent: child molesters and drug dealers. Aside from that, we fought best for our clients.” McGraw mentioned that he was lucky in that clients he got off didn’t commit similar crimes again.

Weatherly discussed meeting McGraw during a moment when his NCIS character Anthony DiNozzo was an audience member on the Dr. Phil show as part of a gag. The actor was taken by McGraw’s sense of humor. However, when Weatherly go the opportunity to meet McGraw to prep for the part, given therapist’s gift for reading body language and sizing up appearances, “you become self-conscious.” Did McGraw ever imagine that the dashing Weatherly would play his younger self? Quipped the doctor, “Well, I really did, and there was nobody else who could do it.”