NCIS' Michael Weatherly Previews a 'Favorite Episode,' Shares Plan to 'Raise the Bar' for Tony

NCIS Season 12 PreviewThis Tuesday at 8/7c, in the penultimate episode of NCIS Season 11, Special Agent Tony DiNozzo is tasked with escorting an admiral’s beautiful daughter from Marseilles, France to the States — a bit of “babysitting” that will not come without (deadly) complications. On the occasion of DiNozzo’s French connection, TVLine invited original cast member Michael Weatherly to survey his alter ego’s latest exploits, reveal how the late Ralph Waite helped him reconnect with his own father and promise viewers “enormous” changes for Tony come Season 12.

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TVLINE | It sounds like Tony is going to France this week… by way of Universal Studios.
The key thing about France-in-Hollywood, especially when it comes to our show, is that it’s always the backlot. And sometimes there’s a damsel in distress, and what that often means is that you need to send “the best of the best.” You need to send America’s very own James Bond, Tony DiNozzo. OK, basically it’s a babysitting job – a retrieval job – but the actress that I got to work with for those wonderful days is one of the most talented actors I have worked with in my whole career. Meg Steedle (Boardwalk Empire) is absolutely a joy, and a perfect fit for the specific brand of light comedy that I prefer to traffic in. Meg and I got to have all kinds of fun, in a Charade-style, “Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn on the run” sort of way. It was a very funny and light, with some nice twists. It’s my favorite episode in a long time, one where I actually got to do some other things. I think the audience will really like it.

TVLINE | [NCIS boss] Gary Glasberg keeps calling this a “Three Days of the Condor-type episode,” and that was a Robert Redford movie about a CIA researcher who comes back from lunch to find all of his colleagues murdered. Connect the dots — where is the similarity?
Well, there’s one scene, and I won’t spoil it for everybody, that it is eerily reminiscent of that film. The Admiral's DaughterAnd then there’s another scene where Tony references the movie and says, “It’s like Three Days of the Condor — except I’m Faye Dunaway.”

TVLINE | How is it, as an actor, when you’re off on your own like this, apart from the other principals, for an episode?
Well you know, it does happen from time to time, with The DiNozzo. The last time was going out to Israel to track down the lovely Ziva. And over the years there’ve been a couple other instances… like when I was handcuffed to Frank Whaley for the whole episode. But I always enjoy going out on a bit of a walkabout. And then it’s always nice to come back to the big orange room and see all my friends again.

TVLINE | In “The Admiral’s Daughter,” is Tony in action hero mode? Is there some derring-do?
I would say there is a degree of it. Maybe not as much as I would have liked, but at this point [in the season], also, I am tired. So it was nice to not have to run, and jump, and do too much of that. But this summer, actually, I am going to start training to do a triathlon in the fall. So maybe there’ll be a more physical DiNozzo in Season 12!

Watch a sneak peek from “The Admiral’s Daughter,” then read on for much more:

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TVLINE | Tell me a bit about the May 13 season finale, which in large part pays tribute to the late Ralph Waite and his character, Jackson Gibbs. It sounds pretty damn emotional.
We were out at a cemetery and Ralph Waite’s cast chair was put out under a tree, and I think it gave everyone a moment to reflect on Ralph. And not just reflect on his wonderful contribution to our home at NCIS, but to his remarkable career and life. I had some great personal talks with Ralph over the years that I treasure. He will be missed and I’m very honored to be part of this show and this group of people that would make such a nice send-off, to a guy who really deserves it.

TVLINE | I come from a very large family, and my father happened to look a bit like Ralph Waite, so I of course grew up watching The Waltons. This guy was a part of my childhood.
He had a great sense of fun and he was a very determined, professional performer. And never ever did I get the sense that he wasn’t one hundred percent connected to the material and thrilled to be working. We had a series of episodes this winter — we shot the Robert Wagner episode, we had done a Ralph Waite episode, and then I was working with Keith Carradine, who in that episode turns out to have a son that he was unaware of – and after Ralph passed, I immediately went to the airport, got on a plane and flew down to Jamaica to see my dad, because I hadn’t seen him in nine months or so. Working on television, it’s very difficult to see family. Unless they live in Southern California, which mine does not, it’s pretty isolating. So, it was kind of as if Ralph gave me a nice moment with my own father.

Honor Thy Father

TVLINE | Within the episode, what role do Tony and the others play in Gibbs’ grieving process?
Of course, this being NCIS, it’s tricky because there is a case — and Vance doesn’t want Gibbs, in his current state, to be dealing with the case. So, he puts DiNozzo in charge, and you know how that always ends up. That lasts about one act. [Laughs] Always a bridesmaid, Tony DiNozzo. Will he ever be the bride? I don’t know.


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  1. JC says:

    Good interview – thanks Matt. I’ve enjoyed this season and I’m looking forward to whatever they’ve got planned for season 12.

  2. SandraM says:

    Thanks so much for this great interview. Looking forward to Tony’s adventures in France! He’s been babysitting all season so I guess he’s the expert now. Glad he gets to do something a little different.

  3. Alan says:

    nice to see how enthusiastic weatherly is about his job after 11 seasons, most actors wouldnt be.

  4. bowlingchef says:

    Love everything about NCIS, right down to the writers. I am sure the season ender for ralph will be emotional, so the tissues will be ready.

  5. ArcticT says:

    Thank you Matt. Its a great interview. I always love when Michael Weatherly gives a serious interview. I love his hopes and insight on his character. What’s even better is that he seems to want to come back for Season 12…not that I was worried;) Looking forward to the next 2 episodes and S12. Good luck to him on his triathalon training…a great goal to strive for!

  6. I still want to see Tiva =(

  7. Christine says:

    Raise the bar with GG in charge and this incredibly silly Bishop still there, I wish Michael Weatherly good luck then! And Tony met himself being the butt of jokes for everyone except McGee, Gibbs trust his incapable supergirl more than Tony. In my opinion season 11 was a mess and not because Ziva wasn’t there but because GG wanted to sell a mediocre actress playing the most annoying character in years. I had my hopes for Tony and hope all the great actors will be back for season 12 and NCIS will be great again but if they insist that this awful Bishop character is a part of it I bet season 12 will be their final season!

    • SandraM says:

      Sadly I agree. I’ve struggled through this season and I’m done struggling. Thanks to them for ten great seasons.

    • Alan says:

      yeah they would totally end the highest rated show on tv. just because you dont like it doesnt mean there arent more than enough people out there who do to justify keeping it going for as many more years as mark harmon wants to do it.

      • Kate says:

        It is not the highest rated show on TV, Sunday Night Football is and with the 7 Day DVR Viewer ratings, Big Bang Theory is the #1 scripted show. NCIS is the #1 drama and it’s down 4 million viewers from a year ago.

        • leia says:

          oh boo who really the show is eleven years old and your point is exactly what, and last year it did beat football so give it a rest already. get over Ziva or not, oh and are you going to slam the new 24 girl for her eye brows too in three two one…..

        • mary says:

          Well, many shows are down this year. They say it’s because of the DVRing(yes, I have this in my vocabulary as a word) & the mass of channels now out there-including the good old web.

      • Casey R. says:

        Exactly. I enjoy NCIS through all of their seasons and each additional season is added bliss. Change happens to everything. It’s sad when people won’t accept/like the changes made, but still direly make predictions that the end is near, because they are disappointed.

    • yes I agree with you Christine. Even MW alluded to the fact that no one knew what to do with her character. She was poorly conceived and completely undeveloped all season. Even though she apparently has a contract deal, i hope that CBS will can her.

      • Alan says:

        nobody knew what to do with the character because they didnt have enough time to prepare for a new character coming in because of the way cote de pablo left them high and dry, david mccallum has said so in the past, he has been very critical of the way the writers plans for the season were ruined by the way she left the show, its no wonder they were scrambling around for a while trying to find their feet as a result.

        • BJG says:

          And because they didn’t want the fans yelling that they replaced Ziva. They wanted someone totally different the her. If you see what they did with JJ’s replacement you should understand completely.

          • Alan says:

            ah yes the ashley seaver problem, i love rachel nichols, continuum is a fantastic show and she is amazing in it, she never deserved to be stuck with that role, she got so much unwarranted crap just for being the one to replace jj on the show, very similar to the unwarranted crap emily is getting from a certain section of people in this fandom.

        • Naomi says:

          blame one actress that another doesn’t have talent?! yeah that makes sense! lol

      • leia says:

        excuse me but thats not what MW said with respect to Bishop. You wish. He was also extremely diplomatic with respect to his former costar, thats the point, diplomatic if you can’t say anything good say as little as possible. And be nice something most Bishop phobes don;t seem to understand. She won’t come back need to get new life.

      • Daniel says:

        You know Natalie, I find it incredible that you wish someone would get fired simply because you don’t like her. I hope no one ever wishes something like that happens to you, remember, Karma is b*tch with a long memory. Shame on you.

        • Jaycee says:

          Michael didn’t mean it in the nasty way “they didn’t know what to do with her character’ he meant they weren’t sure which way to ‘present her’ character in the short time they had decided she would be the replacement. If THEY were unhappy with her character she would never have been made a regular and signed up for season 12. Listen and read Michael’s words and ss the video and take on board his comments. None of it is negative, its just the way you are bending them to suit your own feelings.

      • Laura says:

        I think Bishop needs to go. Her character does not add anything positive to the show. She’s just annoying and unprofessional. She does not fit in with the rest of the cast at all. Not even close. I have a hard time watching her scenes.

        • mary says:

          Ok-first you are completely entitled to your opinion. But what you find annoying, others will not. Look how some people think Tony’s annoying & immature. I think that’s part of the character.
          And unprofessional…well some would say that about Abby. Again I think without her tattoos, outfits, & hair-she would not be Abby. But I think it was time & development of character that I learned to love these characters with their quirks, flaws, annoyances. I did not like Ziva the first season she was on. But look how the character changed. While some may not admit it, I do think it’s because she is not Cote. *note I said some people, not all.

          • Jaycee says:

            I agree. The fans complaining just don’t want the Bishop character to fit in. She was meant to be ‘raw’ as a newbie. Its been a year and here they are still whining about ‘Ziva’s’ departure. She isn’t coming back so either accept it or move on.

    • Yvonne says:

      Christine! I agree with you 100%……It wasn’t just Ziva leaving. I have first ten seasons on DVD….My kids would give them to me for Christmas…I told them not to buy season eleven and I will not watch season twelve. Maybe the show should end after next season. It’s over for me now.

  8. BJG says:

    Thanks Matt for the interview. Michael talks about Tony in the fall & S12 which I hope means we’ll be hearing that he, Pauley & Sean have signed on for next year — can you confirm??? And I can’t agree more about the last episodes and many during S11 that they have returned to Classic NCIS and the writers have brought the Navy back into NCIS.

    Looking forward to The Admiral’s Daughter & Honor Thy Father. And bring on S12!!

      • BJG says:

        Thanks Matt. Just waiting for your next article to say that Michael has signed. But I’ve very happy to hear that it appears everyone will be back for S12.

        • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

          Read between the lines — he’s all but signed. There will be no follow-up.

          • Joni says:

            ie: He’s agreed to the terms so just needs to sign the contract and it’s a done deal. Correct?

            Thank you for this great interview. I always enjoy reading Michael’s insights into into this complex character of Tony DiNozzo he’s developed over the last 11 seasons.

        • Pete says:

          I don’t believe there is any doubt whatsoever that he will sign. MW is a professional, if he chooses to leave before the show itself finishes then he will give plenty of notice.

          The bulk of the cast understand what they have here, that reaching 250 episodes with the core cast unchanged is a big deal. They appreciate that they are where they are through, talent, ability, hard work, looks and most importantly of all luck.
          It’s not the first rodeo for any of them and they will all survive the typecasting that comes from a long-running show.
          de Pablo’s problem (and I am not trying to dis the poor woman – even if you think I am succeeding) is that to all intents and purposes NCIS was her first rodeo and she is typecast in the part, it is obvious from the reaction of those claiming to be her fans. They want her to be Ziva – or Tony’s wife – they don’t want to see her as the wife of some Chilean miner, nor any of the other parts I’m sure she’d love to play. That reaction implies she already stayed too long, but I hope not and that she does have a good future.

          Thanks for the interview, Matt, it’s nice to see a glimpse of the man behind Tony and it’s nice to see Tony back as his own man on the show, rather than just Ziva’s foil or the supposed comic relief (most of which hasn’t actually been funny for a lot of us).

          • Jaycee says:

            It is official now that they have all signed on for season 12, Bishop’s character included.

    • Kate says:

      It’s not Classic NCIS because Gary Glasberg is no Don Bellisario, he sucks at writing new characters and storyline arcs. Parsa Arc was a joke this season. I don’t know who’s more annoying Dr. Ryan or Ellie Bishop, at least I knew Ryan would go away. And no I’m not turning the channel, heard enough of that from the Tiva and Ziva fans the past 8 seasons. I’m a fan of Mark Harmon and I’ll continue to watch and complain when the show sucks, just like any critic has the right to critique something. Oh and your right it has some similar Classic NCIS vibe, it’s demo number is in the low 2’s just like Season 1 & 2. LOL

  9. teresa says:

    Thank you so much for a real (and great) interview with Mr. Weatherly! I do so hope that his promises for the next season are allowed to be kept by tptb; we fans of the Dinozzo are so hoping that it is true that the over the top stuff is gone — we (and he) are entitled after 11 seasons to have at least one or two glimpses of Tony the hero during a season (remember “Requiem”? – that was 6 seasons ago!!!) Anyway, did love the interview and look forward to Season 12.

  10. CJ says:

    I’m looking forward to this one-off case-driven episode, but I’m wondering if we will ever get another character-centric story arc again that is focused on Tony (not on Gibbs or Ziva or McGee with Tony playing backup). The hopes Michael Weatherly expresses for Tony in Season 12 are the same ones I’ve had at the beginning of every season since about season 6 or 7, but it never quite comes to fruition. Any idea if there are any concrete plans for Tony in Season 12, or was MW speculating on what he would like to see happen (as would I and a lot of other Tony fans…)?

    • Alan says:

      do people just conveniently forget the recent episode about tony and his father when starting on this line of complaining?

      • CJ says:

        No – I clearly said “story arc” which refers to an ongoing mulit-episode sort of story like the many we’ve had to end or begin a season focused around Ziva or Gibbs, not the “one and done” sort of episodes. The ones with Tony and his father, for me, have become a lot of the same old same old, though, since you brought it up. Tony’s father does something self-centered, or something perceived to be so, Tony gets upset with him, Tony’s coworkers urge him to forgive and forget, Tony forgives and makes up with Dad until the Robert Wagner episode comes up again next season….

        • SandraM says:

          I miss the story arcs. I don’t care who it is centered around. The big story arcs made the show thrilling to watch. The thrill is gone.

          • NoChance says:

            Viva la difference – I’m just the opposite. I prefer standalone episodes with little snippets of personal information about the characters threaded through the show season after season. In Season 11 the writers actually remembered to bring up things that happened years ago (like Tony having the plague) and I sat there in front of my TV grinning.

        • Alisa Neely says:

          i agree with you CJ…..tony has ALWAYS played “backup’ to others….especially ZIVA, when she was on ….and MOST character arcs have been about GIBBS & ZIVA…..tony NEVER truely gets to SHINE…..he’s always the BUTT OF THE JOKE……after 11 seasons: it’s about TIME….for SFA TONY DINOZZO to show what he can REALLY DO….and be shown the RESPECT he DESERVES.

          • Joni says:

            I think the last time Tony had a significant story arc was all the way back in Season 4 with Jeanne Benoit.
            The Port-to-Port one wasn’t really a Tony arc to me.

      • flootzavut says:

        I love Tony to bits, but I’m forever rolling my eyes at the people who constantly claim the character is somehow hard done by in comparison to the others. Bar Gibbs, Tony/Michael has had more major dramas and character centred episodes than anyone. But no, unless the fans get exactly what they want, it’s poor neglected Tony. Michael Weatherly seems like a very down to earth guy, I can’t help but think he’d be amused at how his part is characterised by his more obsessive fans.

        • CJ says:

          More than Ziva???? I beg to differ. Most people who are not primarily Tony fans, but are primarily Gibbs fans or one of the other characters say the same as you do, and I get it. We all watch the show for our different reasons. However, before you so quickly belittle and dismiss the opinions of someone who views things differently than you, let’s consider another scenario. Let’s say Jennifer Shepard had remained with the series for 8 seasons instead of 3, and for 5 or 6 of those seasons, the majority of Gibbs’ screen time had been taken up with being part of Jenny-focused dramas. There’s of course the “will they or won’t they” focus. Then there are Jenny’s other personal dramas which take a multi-episode story arc to cover at least every couple of seasons. The remainder of Gibbs’ time is spent supporting the dramas of his team. Mixed in with this, to try to appease the Gibbs fans, he gets about 2 or 3 “one and done” episodes a season, one of those usually involving a token once-per-season visit from his father that pretty much plays out exactly the same way each time. That adds up to lots of screen time, so there would be no uproar or anything over that, right? Even if it means that Gibbs didn’t have time for the season finale arc from season 7, or to chase after a serial killer who fixated on him, or a bomber who also fixated on him, or to mourn the death of Mike Franks, or to deal with Richard Parsons, or Parsa, or the death of his father. I mean look at all the time he got from Jennifer Shepard’s stories! That should be enough, shouldn’t it? Even after her death, it’s only right that he should spend almost an entire season mourning her instead of moving on to his own story.

          And this ^ is the Tiva hell fans of Tony who happen to not be on board with Tiva have been watching for six seasons now. If part of this interview sounded familiar, it’s because MW expressed almost exactly the same hope for season 11 several months ago that he’s now expressing for season 12, about how he’d like to see Tony figuring out what HE wants. The reason he reiterated almost exactly the same hope for Tony is because absolutely nothing came of it this season. I certainly hope he’s right about season 12.

          • Jaycee says:

            You know, the cast don’t give a fig about who gets more screen time. They play their roles to the stories they are given. It’s there job. Michael had plenty of screen time this season in eps 1,2,5,16,17 from memory. “Raising the bar’ means more depth to the episodes etc, its not to do with his character personally.

          • Cj says:

            Again, as my example illustrates, it isn’t about screen time it’s about quality. If MW is repeating almost exactly what he said about his desires for s11 regarding s12, apparently that means it didn’t happen in s11. I don’t doubt that he may be perfectly content by the way things are, but last I checked the show was produced for the viewers. I am as a viewer expressing my frustration. Since we are the ones who affect their bottom line, our opinions count too, not just whether or not the cast and crew are happy with the way things are.

          • Daniel says:

            Um, no CJ, the show is NOT produced for the viewers. It is produced for corporations, CBS, advertisers, anyone who will make a profit from it, it is a business. That’s why, when a show doesn’t deliver the ratings, it’s usually gone. You are just one of many, and sadly, your opinion is just one of many. The ratings are what count, since NCIS is a highly rated drama it is gold. You may claim your opinion counts, but what really counts are the 15 to 17 million people who are watching–that’s the ones that count, big time.

          • Cj says:

            You completely contradicted yourself. First you say the show is produced for the advertisers and then you point out correctly that if the ratings are low the show is gone. The ratings the advertisers are looking for come from….THE VIEWERS…do they not? Specifically in the coveted demo group (of which I am a part). I know my one opinion is one of millions and doesn’t individually count for more than those of the other 17 million viewers. You however seem to believe it somehow counts for less, which is also not true. I have respectfully left alone all of the positive threads to this article, simply wishing to have my own viewpoint heard too. It amazes me how many people simply can’t stand to let another person have a different opinion if isn’t filled with nothing but sunshine and roses. Some people are happy, some aren’t. I have as much right to be here as you do and your opinion is noore or less valuable than mine. Deal with it.

        • Srsly says:

          While your basic premise has merit, I am forever rolling my eyes at people who are forever rolling their eyes at other people without actually asking the right questions and then listening to the answers with an open mind. Perhaps a little less judging from afar and a bit more reasoned empathizing would be in order? Sitting on one’s throne in an ivory tower, pontificating, doesn’t give one much in the way of alternate, and totally understandable, perspectives.
          The Tim fans and their endless whining about anything and everything Tim/Sean, frequently while demonizing both Tony and Weatherly, make Tony fans look like the most patient of saints in comparison. And then there is the lunatic fringe of the Ziva/Cote fans, who make any fans look sane.
          You would have to support your opinion that Tony/Michael has had more major dramas than anyone else, bar Gibbs. I believe you would find that at least one other, polarizing, character has him beat by a mile, and that many of his “arcs” were not his at all. His presence was merely to be the foil for someone else.
          Absolutely lovely interview, Matt! Thank you! Hopefully, many of Michael’s wishes for his character’s and the show’s future come to fruition. I truly believe he has one of the best visions and understanding of what makes NCIS so special to so many of us. I am looking forward to Season 12 and beyond!

  11. Sonya says:

    I wish Michael Weatherly all the best because he is a fantastic actor but if Bishop is part of season 12 I won’t be watching, I want to be entertained not annoyed! NCIS was great with all the fantastic actors for 10 years until they decided to sacrifice all for Bishop!

    • NoChance says:

      Then I guess you won’t be watching. Ms Wickersham is on the same contract cycle with Mark & Brian so will both Ellie Bishop and Emily will be there in Season 12. I hope one day you find another show that gives you the pleasure that NCIS doesn’t anymore.
      Meanwhile I’m all in 100% for Season 12. Even with 2 more episodes to go in Season 12 I’m already asking “Is it September yet?”

      • NoChance says:

        Sorry for the type-o’s. I need to proof-read my own posts.
        No “will” and “Season 11”.

      • Kate says:

        I’ll continue to watch it with Bishop on because she makes a moron out of herself. I have so much fun laughing at this horrible character. And before you call me a Zbot, can’t stand Ziva’s character did the happy dance when Cote quit. The only thing redeemable about Bishop being on the show is reading the melt down comments over at FB. And I believe Gary had more than enough time to write Bishop’s character, just another example for the Bbots blaming Cote for everything that goes wrong with the show. I’ll bet that when Bishop sucks next season, they’ll still blame Cote for not giving Gary enough time for writing Bishop’s character. This character is exactly the same as Seaver’s character on ‘Criminal Minds’, I could live with out Mary Sue, JJ, it’s Prentis who was and still is replaceable on the show. Seaver could not measure up, and neither can Blake Just hoping that if ‘New Orleans’ does not get picked up, that Brody’s character gets put on the team,now that dynamic I’ll like.

    • Celestrial Moon says:

      I hear you!

  12. Mel says:

    This interview is all kinds of wonderful. Thanks so much! I think Michael’s insights were spot on. Love that he acknowledges that it was Ziva who rebuffed Tony by remaining in Israel, and how that stung him, and that he’s effectively put her in a drawer, let her go to follow her own dreams, and moved on. Loved his thoughts on Ralph Waite and how the show has tried to honor his memory. Can’t wait to see The Admiral’s Daughter, and excited at the promise that he wants to raise the bar in S12. He’s a classy guy, and his responses about the cast and the show speak to his kindness and professionalism. And…triathalon??!! Wow, go Michael! Thanks for this, Matt. Still smiling.

  13. Lorie says:

    Thanks for the great interview!

  14. Ashley says:

    Thanks for such a great interview! Michael is such a class act, and it’s wonderful to see him continue to be so passionate about a show and character he’s worked so long on.

  15. Diane says:

    Been a fan of MW since his Loving days. I haven’t watched NCIS in over 4 years, but it is always nice to read his interviews.

  16. John NYC says:

    ” I think they were between a rock and a hard place bringing her in, because they didn’t want her to be romantic in any way with anyone, yet they hired a beautiful woman. I think the producers and writers and actors, we’ve all been working to figure out, “How does the Bishop character work best?””

    Yes with a new character being brought into such a well established structure the challenge of how best to utilize the new opportunities can be interesting. Each new addition brings new things, Jenny is a great example of that. Bishop opens new facets for the team a bit like Tim did.

    • John NYC says:

      It would be nice to see Tony benefit from whatever changes are in store as Michael seems to envision.

  17. Darlene says:

    Matt, thank you so much for this wonderful interview. Great questions, great answers. I wish Michael the best with his triathlon training this summer, and with his work in Seasons 12 and 13 on NCIS.

  18. Edie says:

    Wonderful interview. I’m excited to see what happens next season for all of the actors. These last couple of episodes have shown that they are getting their sea legs back and I’m sure that next season will be a great one.

  19. AntonioQC says:

    “Playful guff”? Mmmm, I have the feeling the interviewer was expecting a different answer.

  20. NoChance says:

    The phrasing of the “playful” question left little room for an actual answer. Perhaps just asking if she was aware of the flack the cast has gotten and if they talked about it would have been a better way to go.

  21. Lynn says:

    Michael Weatherly is fantastic, comedically, on this show. I still don’t think he has any idea how tremendous he’s been with the heavier material they’ve given him. I think some of his best work on NCIS has come when he’s dialed back and stopped trying to chew the scenery and always go for a laugh. His final scenes with Cote de Pablo …some of the stuff he’s done with Robert Wagner, and certainly some of the scenes he’s had with Mark Harmon show how gifted he is in both comedy and drama. In fact, I think perhaps his best episode was 2011’s “Nature of the Beast” and some of the scenes he shared with Wendy Makkena.
    I definitely look forward to Michael “raising the bar” in season 12 and seeing where they go next with Tony DiNozzo. It would be nice to see him have a potential love interest/relationship that developed naturally instead of being forced into a larger story arc as well.

    • Joni says:

      Great post, Lynn. I couldn’t agree more. Michael is a fantastic dramatic actor and I have to agree with Mark Harmon who has said that “Michael doesn’t know how good he is”.
      I loved his performance in “Nature of the Beast” as much as I did his scenes with Robert Wagner during his 1st appearance as “Senior” in “Flesh and Blood” and with Mark Harmon as Tony showed up at Gibbs house for fireplace steak – the latter scene I actually have committed to memory. :-)
      An organic romance, similar to the one Tim has with Delilah and the one Jimmy has with wife Breena would be wonderful – especially if she was like the woman he described in “Obsession” (someone like Dana Hutton). Someone he doesn’t have to perform as the class clown for would be my ideal. Hey, I think I’ve just described Dr Kate’s Sister (unless she’s still married, of course).

      • Lynn says:

        Some weeks I watch NCIS and wish they’d let their characters experience a little more happiness — BUT, a part of me wants to see the train wreck that was/is Tony’s father completely go off the rails in season 12 because Weatherly and Wagner are so good together and it would make for great drama.
        Remember the scene where Sr. recently told Gibbs “I’m in the best place I’ve been in 30 years”? Considering we’re just a few seasons removed from “Flesh and Blood” and Tony relaying to Gibbs that he realizes dear old dad is nothing but a con man, one would think a leopard just doesn’t change its spots that quickly. And this is what? Wife #5 or #6 for Tony’s dad? I think A) He’s built up a house of cards that is destined to come crashing down B) There are many more layers to that character we (the viewers) haven’t even been exposed to yet that would be terrific for the actors to play with. Rip off the Band-Aid, NCIS writers! ;)

        • CJ says:

          I wholeheartedly agree with this! They have really missed an opportunity with the character of Tony’s dad. A very different picture of the character was painted in the first few seasons than the one we’ve been shown. “Flesh and Blood” was a great start, but then they kind of went off the rails and seem to be afraid of doing anything too “real” or serious.

          • Jaycee says:

            I don’t see they have missed anything with Tony’s dad. The last episode, Snr said he was happy at last and was getting married. Have any of you ever thought that maybe Robert Wagner doesn’t want to start up anything ‘big’ because of his age. He is about 84/85 you know. The cast knew that Ralph Waite was unwell and got in the Better Angels episode. Perhaps they are just going to coast along now in case the worst happens with RW.

          • Cj says:

            That’s why I sort of regret the casting choice of RW as Tony’s dad. I have nothing against him, but it seems to me that they sort of changed the original conception of the character to fit RW, instead of bringing an actor in to play a role as it had been established to be. Sometimes it can be better to bring in an actor who is relatively unknown.

  22. Ruth says:

    That’s was AWESOME interview
    Can you do more of that with other actors and actress on different tv shows
    Of course with time permission maybe end of year before season finale
    I’m happy that MW is happy with where his character is going
    After 11 season I’m starting to wonder if the actor is getting boring with the character
    But guess not
    Also thanks for mentioning coate I’m glad she is getting into tv or movie again
    Looking foward to see her in it
    Thanks again for awesome interview!

  23. There is no fireworks with Blondie. To young to be a Love Interest!

    • Alan says:

      she isnt a love interest, thats exactly why they had her be married. jeez some people really are blind to the obvious.

      • Jaycee says:

        From what I have read they are blind to everything. The can’t accept that Michael and Mark are happy with their own roles as they have said so in recent interviews. They both explained about ‘Bishop” and saying they are happy with her. Mark even commented about fans whinging about how he ‘was no longer Gibbs” since she joined. He said that naturally the shows dynamics changed as it does with new characters and they all adjusted accordingly for a number of episodes. ‘Bishop’ is still a learning probie. A couple of recent episodes I watched showed quite clearly to me she is still learning about Gibbs.

    • John NYC says:

      And: she isn’t a love interest!

      Ta Dah!

      Written as married, so she’s a love interest for her husband but not for the team. Enough with the soap opera already I expect.

  24. thanks for this great interview! some great insights from Michael. Very excited about tomorrow’s episode. Sounds like a classic thriller.

  25. Michael is so interesting. He is a gifted dramatic actor, especially when he has a great acting partner to play off of (male or female). He is very good looking. And he is also very self depracating. it’s like he doesn’t trust his talent as a dramatic actor and falls back on slapstick comedy and his great looks. He doesn’t need to fall back on either because he is just great! I hope he learns to trust his gift.

  26. sladewilson says:

    Very good and interesting interview, Matt. Great job…

  27. kabbie says:

    I love DiNozzo whether he’s serious or comical, though he appears even better-looking in serious scenes. Glad that MW was able to reconnect w his own dad; hope things go well for him in Ssn 12, & that he gets a chance to direct again. As for CdP, I’m thrilled that MW has remained in touch w her. I’d love to follow them on that walk ! Thanks for a great interview.

  28. JBC says:

    I am glad that they will honor Ralph Waite. A wonderful actor I have watched since The Waltons aired… It will be nice for Tony to do something new… I would have rather seen Delilah become a regular instead of bringing in Bishop. Why did they need to bring in a new character at all? I don’t care if Ziva ever comes back, don’t miss her but would have preferred a season without a new character. I enjoy the guests. Problem with Bishop is the writers made her like super woman at first. It was a real stretch to believe Gibbs likes her so much already.. Just my 2cents.

    • Chloe says:

      Agreed. They didn’t integrate Bishop well. She was this annoying know-it-all. And trust me, I was never Ziva’s biggest fan, so this isn’t a “Bishop’s not Ziva” complaint.

      • John NYC says:

        And then, of course, she was shown by Gibbs to not “know it all” and she accepted that along with his job offer: so they had a new person on the team bringing different skills (NSA analyst) and open to learning the team’s.

        I expect they could have written a transferred agent, say, Zoe McLellan’s character Boron’s seniority would have been a retconn challenge) or another somewhat “new” (FBI, Lawyer) agent in Salli Richardson-Whitfield’s established character the latter being one I’d have liked despite her obvious chemistry with Gibbs….

        But they didn’t, instead choosing to go with a probationary agent that the team could teach. Shrug: creative choice.

  29. kath says:

    It’s nice to hear from Micheal Weatherly, he’s a thoughtful guy.

    But wow, that clip made me nostalgic for the Tony/Ziva scenes. I’m not into Big Brave Men and Whiny Helpless Girls.

    The “If you love something, set it free” is from Fritz Perls (gestalt therapy).

  30. Andrew Hass says:

    That was a great interview with Michael Weatherly.Plus i hope next season Tony has more to do and have him think about the future a little.I think Tony will always have feelings for Ziva but she made her choice to leave.Plus since there’s no cliffhanger this year my guess is next season will open a few months after this season’s finale ends.As for Bishop the show can spend the hiatus figuring out how to make her character work the best.

  31. GBF says:

    MW is a wonderful actor with a head on his shoulders and he knows Tony. He promises more in season 12 and that’s exciting. I hope so. There are so many stories to tell and character development where Tony can grow and keep the character fresh. There have to be better days ahead for NCIS and its characters. It would be nice to see some personal involvement for Gibbs, soften him up a little have him smile a little more. Gibbs has to be more aware of his personal choices and really make better ones by now. It’s been nice to see less of Bishop, maybe her character will be better written and less obviously contrived as eccentric next season. Some of that has been less obvious already. I agree its been a rough season with some well written scripts and some poor ones. Hopefully the best ones are coming in season 12 for Gibbs, Tony, Magee, Ducky, and Abby.

    • NoChance says:

      The best laid plans… They got waylaid when Cote decided to not come back. I doubt we’ll ever know what was planned for Michael/Tony in Season 11. Now we’re stable again so I think what’s planned for Tony will come to fruition in Season 12.

  32. Ron B says:

    Totally enjoyed the interview.

  33. Helen P says:

    Admirals daughter was GREAT. Show was Great. Hirer her for new NCIS team :0)

  34. Barbara kemp says:

    Enjoyed the show all seasons., sad about Ralph Waite. Did not like Dr. Ryan. Like others I miss Ziva and really felt 2 times killing off the woman agent, plus the female Director and the wife of the Director was indeed a lot of female loss. Ziva was not killed so much as exited so sadly. Then parayis of McGee’s love interest. Seems too much. Let one of them mature and have a real family. The baby adoption was even thwarted. I would watch any series Cote stepped into. Sharp tough and a sense of humor…. So, I will hope for better relationships in season 12.

  35. Carolina says:

    Excellent interview. MW really does give the most fun and interesting responses. Love his take on things. Agree with others who’ve pointed out how great it is to see an actor who after 11 seasons seems so full of energy and enthusiasm and happiness with his show, character and direction. Here’s hoping they all have a restful hiatus now that all have re-signed after being thrown into surprise turmoil in the 11th hour last year and then having to endure some pretty vile fan hate from those blaming them for another’s choice. Looking forward to the journey of S12’s DiNozzo.

  36. Spot13 says:

    How can you not love Michael Weatherly! I’m sorry but Bishop is just horrible. Ziva gave Tony an intensity that is sadly missing. Season 11 kept bringing in under age girls when an actual women was required. How much better would it have been if the girl in the Admiral’s daughter has been age appropriate for Tony? I was actually looking forward to more scenes with the crooked French policewoman! MW’s Tony has always been a Peter Pan character and he needs his Wendy to ground him and make him more than he is. Tony is not Gibbs. Tony is the romantic lead and we romantics need Tony to have someone to inspire him and make him want to be more. Yes, I want Ziva back, but if not, at least a woman that can inspire Tony and challenge him. Please don’t waste MW’s talent. Give him someone who can match his acting abilities and push his Tony to new vistas. Whatever.

  37. Kat says:

    Great interview! Thanks for all the work you do, Matt, with your interviews.

  38. Marysue says:

    Cote made the decision to leave albeit at the last minute. Since her contract talks were dragging on I think Gary Glasberg should have had a “Plan B” meaning have the writers have a Ziva exit at the ready in case Cote didn’t sign. We know that he didn’t and that caused the last minute scramble to get another actress in and the writers were flying by the seat of their pants for most of the season. It does sound by all accounts Cote could reprise Ziva at some point. The big question is – does she want too? She has already done one movie – The 33, proving that she can and will move on with other things. It will be interesting to see what season 12 brings.

  39. Lorraine Johnson says:


  40. GretchenM says:

    I think DiNozzo is such a cool character and I wait each episode for his funny shots. NCIS is my favorite show and my favorite episode was when they went it Israel to rescue Ziva. They all should have won Emmy’s for their roles.

  41. Sharron Scott says:

    I like to see the Layers JAG on your season 13. Ncis was on there 2003. I like the JAG TV series Just like I like your NCIS

  42. Kim Nobles says:

    I truly hope Cote returns to NCIS.

  43. Joe Kingma says:

    Looking forward to more NCIS, Tony should play less of a bully those times are past, he often sounds and act like the Archie bunker wants to see anymore.