It is nothing but an understatement to say that Michael Weatherly’s Senior Field Agent Anthony “Tony” DiNozzo is an integral part of CBS’ thriller series ‘NCIS.’ Michael’s character is the backbone of the series’ first thirteen seasons. DiNozzo’s relationship with Special Agent Ziva David is the foundation of one of the show’s most loved storylines as well. Therefore, the viewers can’t be blamed for wishing to see the actor’s return to the series ever since Weatherly’s departure from the show. Since the actor himself had teased the same, the admirers of the character must be looking forward to seeing DiNozzo back on the procedural series. Well, here’s what we can share about the same!
Why Did Michael Weatherly Leave NCIS?
Michael Weatherly left ‘NCIS’ after the show’s thirteenth season in 2016. The actor was thinking about parting ways with the thriller series during the production of the eleventh season, specifically after the departure of Cote de Pablo, who plays DiNozzo’s partner Ziva. “Their great dynamic, the badinage and sparring and flirting between those two characters [DiNozzo and Ziva] and how they would swing from siblings to near lovers and back to buddies, that was gone, and then I got to the point where I felt I’d stayed at the party for too long,” the actor told TV Insider.
Gradually, Weatherly realized that it is time for him to leave the show to pursue other projects. “The show was a huge success, but I just suddenly realized that I probably had other things that I should be doing. And then the wanderlust set in. I directed a documentary. I have a production company,” the actor added. Weatherly also wanted to spend his time with his family, which contributed to the decision to part ways with the procedural series.
Weatherly was adamant about giving his character DiNozzo a proper goodbye since the character played an integral role in shaping the actor in him. “Tony allowed me to do the widest range of acting I could ever imagine. […] I’m forever grateful for that,” he said in the same TV Insider interview. The actor’s desire to be a part of other projects led him to CBS’ legal series ‘Bull.’
Is Anthony DiNozzo Returning to NCIS?
As of yet, neither CBS nor Michael Weatherly released an official statement confirming the actor’s return to ‘NCIS.’ After the conclusion of ‘Bull,’ admirers of Michael Weatherly started to express their desire to see the actor back in ‘NCIS’ as Anthony DiNozzo. According to showrunner Steven D. Binder, there weren’t any immediate plans to bring back the actor to the thriller series. “Wouldn’t that [Weatherly’s return] be great? […] I suspect — forgetting Tony DiNozzo for a minute — that Michael Weatherly is on vacation. I’ve known him for a while and I think he needs to chillax and go someplace tropical. I haven’t spoken to him about that but we’ve talked over the years, and that’s my guess,” Binder told TVLine in September 2022.
However, the chances of Weatherly’s return might have increased since then, according to none other than the actor himself. When a fan expressed his wish to see DiNozzo and Ziva’s reunion on screen, Weatherly teased that it isn’t an impossibility. “Stay tuned… for this might be an interesting year for such ‘moments’!” the actor responded to the fan in January 2023. Since Weatherly hasn’t committed to any acting projects after concluding ‘Bull,’ the actor may consider returning to ‘NCIS.’ His former co-star Cote de Pablo even revealed that Weatherly is open to returning to the show, especially for DiNozzo and Ziva’s reunion.
“When Michael and I talk, and we talk very often, we laugh and we say, ‘Oh my god, do you think these characters [DiNozzo and Ziva] will ever see each other again?’ And the answer is always, yes, we’re just wondering where and when,” Pablo told Entertainment Tonight in 2019. “We’re waiting for the proper platform and a nice storyline, and I’m crossing my fingers it happens. We’re both open to it and we’ll see what happens. It’s a matter of schedules and many factors; many things have to be factored in for that equation to actually become real,” the actress added.
Thus, Weatherly’s return as DiNozzo is indeed a possibility. Since the actor is not engaged with any other project currently, he may find time to return to the show in which he features in over three hundred episodes.