Michael Weatherly's biggest takeaways from new role in "Bull"

In the new CBS show “Bull,” NCIS star Michael Weatherly plays Dr. Jason Bull, the founder of a successful trial consulting film who combines psychology skills with technology to help predict and influence trial verdicts.

Weatherly described Bull as a “very compassionate guy who emotionally plugs into people” – emotions that affect him in real life.

“It actually surprised me when we were doing one scene, I started having tears in my eyes working with this kid,” Weatherly told “CBS This Morning” Thursday. 

The character was inspired by daytime talk show host Dr. Phil McGraw during his early days as the head of a  prolific consulting service – the series is written and produced by McGraw himself along with Paul Attanasio. But Weatherly drew a distinction between Dr. Phil and his character, describing Bull as more Machiavellian. 

“I think when you watch ‘Bull,’ you have to understand that the title implies – it is his name and strong like Bull – but I think it also implies there might be a level of flim-flammery going on,” Weatherly said.

Weatherly said working with McGraw has raised his understanding of human behavior.

“You wouldn’t have a news show every morning if we were simple,” Weatherly said. “So trying to crystallize that and make it comfortable to listen to or understand is Phil’s area of expertise.”

The show uses science and social media to learn about jury members, which Weatherly applied to what’s happening in the real world. He expressed his fascination in the accessibility of information in the modern world.

“Now, when you go on a date with somebody, you have a day to dive on them... before you’ve even met them,” Weatherly said. “I mean, when did you think you were going to read emails between two former secretary of states, and you can just google a ‘Sony hack’ and read through executives’ emails… and Russian hackers and everything.”