NCIS Weatherly Leaving Final Episode

Michael Weatherly Previews NCIS Exit: With Farmhouse Inferno, 'The Fuse Has Been Lit' for DiNozzo's Send-off

If your jaw met the floor as this week’s NCIS came to a close, know that Michael Weatherly was equally surprised to see Ziva David’s Israeli farmhouse go up in (a whole lot of) flames. “It is a very provocative image isn’t it?” the actor shared with TVLine on Wednesday.

With his final appearance set for the Season 13 finale airing May 17, “As I got myself into a head space of what’s going to happen to the character, to all the characters, I didn’t really know how I was going to feel,” Weatherly continued. “But it all started with that moment, with that exploding farmhouse, because when we shot that scene I had not read that scene. They started rolling the [breaking news report] and I was watching it for real! That was Michael Weatherly trying to figure out, ‘Wait. Wait. That’s where Cote [de Pablo] and I shot that scene [in Season 11’s second episode, “Past, Present and Future” — aka de Pablo’s own NCIS swan song]. So I was as shocked as anyone. And then as we went through shooting the last episode, every day was a series of electric shocks.”

Mission Impossible-style, the fuse has been lit” by that alarming inferno, Weatherly teases. “You’re going to be very surprised by a lot of what unfolds next week.”

Did Weatherly relay any ‘druthers to NCIS showrunner Gary Glasberg when he gave notice last summer, with regards to how he’d like (or hope) to see DiNozzo go out? In a word, no. “I’m a big believer that there are things you can control and things you cannot control, so that was outside of the sphere of control as far as I was concerned,” he said. “I’ve really enjoyed the whole ride on NCIS and all the different styles that the show has taken on over time, and I wanted to leave it up to that creative team to do what they wanted to do.”

“I will reveal that there was one particular line of story that I was made aware of that actually completely changed — disappeared really — and became something else,” he adds, offering no specifics. “So I know that they were playing with stuff all the way along. The key for me [in deciding to leave] was to make sure these guys had enough time to do whatever they creatively thought was going to serve the show the best. I love Tony DiNozzo, but more importantly I love NCIS, so that’s always a priority. His departure has to serve that primarily.”

Watch the promo for Michael Weatherly’s NCIS send-off

Reflecting on his 13-year run during the conference call, DiNozzo hoped that Tony is regarded fondly, and more importantly as a fleshed-out TV character. “I kind of take affront when people reduce him to an ‘oafish, overgrown frat boy,’ because I think that he is a complicated and layered guy, in the sense that he gets to do all these things” such as action, family drama and “great romantic comedy/badinage/ banter stuff, especially with Cote de Pablo.” Along those lines, he draws comparison to the late Wayne Rogers’ Trapper John on M*A*S*H, another long-running TV drama that continued on in the wake of an original cast member’s exit. “When NCIS is cranking out Season 20, people will be like, ‘Remember that guy who used to sit at that desk…? Yeah, he got old,'” Weatherly reckons with a laugh.

Asked about the hardest part of his years as DiNozzo, Weatherly ultimately pointed to the uneasy feeling that led him to part ways with the series, to pursue other acting and producing projects as well as spend more time with his family.

“You can’t be in that No. 2 slot [on Gibbs’ team] forever. That started to feel constrained to me,” he offered. “McGee is looking at him and saying, ‘When you get out of here I want to be No. 2,’ and Gibbs is looking at him like, ‘Youre kind of hanging around. Have you got things you want to do?’ I always appreciated the gift of the job, but the hardest part of the whole experience was thinking, ‘Oh, no…. I think it’s time I have to leave.”

And when the clock strikes nine next Tuesday night, how will viewers be left feeling about it all?

“You can never predict those things — that’s like me trying to tell you the weather three-and-a-half weeks from now,” Weatherly hedged. “I do know that it’s been an extraordinary run-up [to the finale], and as I watch these clips [of the finale] that are sent around, it’s really become very emotional for me to watch this transition of Tony DiNozzo off the show.

“I’m sure that out of the tens of millions who watch the show around the world, certainly there will be some different points of view,” he allowed. “But if people share my feelings about it, I think [the reaction] is going to be overwhelmingly positive.” Echoing one of the finale’s talking points with a wink, he added: “I think Gary and CBS and everyone has really put together a ‘powder keg.'”

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  1. Pete says:

    I hope I feel as “overwhelmingly positive” after next week as Weatherly does.
    I thank him for so many years of Tony DiNozzo, will miss him greatly as the character, but wish him well with his future and hope to follow him to other interesting characters.

  2. Paige says:

    Michael had a great run on NCIS and he will be missed.

    Interestingly, the writers said a while ago MW had a say in how he was written out so quite a contradiction.

    • Patrick says:

      This could be the PTB engaging in CYA. Ultimately, the producers and writers control what happens.

      • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

        Two different things actually. I asked MW if he expressed any wishes, he said no, not expecting a dialogue. GG meanwhile said (to me at least) that they kept MW apprised of what they were doing.

        • Leia says:

          Thanks for the clarification Matt, that won’t placate some but, at least now the facts are back in evidence instead of what we think we heard!

          • Paige says:

            My reference was from Scott William’s Twitter response to fans in Feb asking specifically if MW’s input was being taken into consideration.

      • I challenged Steve Binder on the ending of last night’s ep on Twitter. Amazingly, he answered me almost immediately and said those decisions are made miles above the writer’s heads. Passing the buck, I think.

  3. darkangel200 says:

    I love what he said about taking offense at those that feel that DiNozzo is nothing but a shallow frat boy, because his fans have always seen the layers of his complicated character.
    He’s a class act, that Michael Weatherly, and I’ll try to accept the ending. If he’s okay with it, I’m happy for him.

    • JPMD says:

      All the comments by fans that have floated around about how upset ‘they’ are about Michael’s screen time in the past 2 episodes are nicely put in context by the man himself .
      You ARE one CLASS ACT, Mr. Weatherly : thank you !

  4. teresa todd says:

    I have to say that i have loved watching Michael Weatherly play the complex, multifaceted character of Tony Dinozzo,
    who happens to be very handsome and talented. I will miss him on NCIS but look forward to seeing him in his other ventures.
    Thank you for all the years ;)

  5. Patsy says:

    Are you really trying to destroy this show I hated it when you killed Kate then ziva and now tony the only core people left Gibbs Abby ducky Palmer and McGee if you lose them you might as well cancel the show

    • Jenks says:

      I find it amusing that people think the actors on long-running shows should indenture themselves for life. Who is “you”? It’s not like some Evil Show Runner is offing the characters just for fun. If shows like this don’t evolve, the characters end up in ridiculous positions — such as Tony continuing to be #2 when the #1 will always be Gibbs. IRL, Tony would have been transferred, promoted, etc. YEARS ago. It’s a shame when people can’t just enjoy the show without having a cow whenever an actor wants to do something else or the show runners want to try a new direction.

      • Joan says:

        If viewers didn’t get invested in characters, there would be no long-tenured shows. Yes, Tony should have been promoted, moved, whatever. However, I disagree that it’s amusing when long time viewers express their discontent over the treatment of prime characters. If no one cared, that would be troubling to the network.

      • TIVAeverafter says:

        I think you are entirely missing everyones point Jenks.

        Michael Weatherly is a phenomenal actor, a huge talent and a big reason NCIS has been one of the most popular dramas for the last 13 years. It takes something VERY special to make the fans upset and heartbroken over the loss, whatever the circumstance, of a beloved character and says a great deal more about the show and the cast and crew who put everything into making it, then it does the fans.

        I myself have been a fan for the entire run of the show and will continue to be a fan until well after NCIS airs its final episode but I am devastated that Michael has decided to leave. His humour, wit and on screen presence are a HUGE part of the reason I fell in love with the show in the first place. The chemistry he has with the rest of the cast and the fact he is immensely talented don’t hurt either. Our love of the show hasn’t waned; it is still fantastic, the cast are supremely gifted and what the show does for the Navy and Marine Corps is admirable but a much loved character is leaving and something will forever be missing.

        We aren’t “having a cow”, we are voicing our heartbreak over the departure of another beloved character from a very much loved show. We have every right to be upset but that doesn’t mean we don’t understand and respect Michael’s reasons for leaving, that we don’t wish him all the very best for his role as “Dr Phil” and beyond and it certainly doesn’t mean we renounce our loyalty to this most spectacular show.

        Michael will be dearly missed on NCIS and VERY Special Agent Anthony Dinozzo will go down in the history books as one of TV’s most beloved characters. A testament to Mr Michael Weatherly and the legend he will forever be.

      • mary says:

        If people think about Law & Order, they went through many cast changes. Some short, some long. Viewers liked some, didn’t like some. But it lasted. For me, it “refreshed” it. Frankly it’s surprising there hadn’t been more changes in 13 years with NCIS.

    • Meg says:

      Cote and Michael chose to leave. No one made them do it.

  6. Murica! says:

    I can understand that he felt constrained. They should have given Tony his own team and his own spin-off show a long time ago. He has always been my favorite character.

  7. I’m not ready for him to leave but I’m confident because they did Ziva’s exit really well and the show didn’t die. It’s still going strong.

  8. Rebecca Hampton says:

    Tony is like a Southern belle. She may talk slow and play dumb, but she is cunning as a fox and never tips her hand. I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of that myownself. That’s Tony and he’s a genius at crime solving. I will miss Tony but I can’t wait to see what Michael Weatherly’s “Act II” is going to be. And I’m also going to find it interesting how his exit effects the rest of the characters on one of my 3 favorite shows, all of which start with NCIS!

    • tyranthraxus says:

      I dont think the Dr Phil thing is going to pan out.

      • Diane says:

        I love Michael Weatherly but have always hated the Dr Phil Show so goodby Michael, I’ll miss seeing you on my TV until this next show of yours fails and you come back to NCIS (hopefully)

  9. From the photos, it looks like Tony is leaving town by the number of bags on his bed, SR is very much alive when he leaves.

  10. I am going to miss him at first, but I know he has to try other things. I hope he can come back.

  11. How many times years from now are we going to have to hear from fans if he’s coming back to the show. Just like Ziva.

  12. Ann says:

    Thank You Michael for all the wonderful years , thanks to your family for all the time they shared you with us. good luck in whatever you decide to do now.

  13. Jimmy says:

    If Ziva really sided, it seems a real shame to have done that to the character off screen. is there that much enmity between De Pablo and the producers? Shame.

    • Robin says:

      Not just with the producers. The actor who plays Ducky was not happy with her decision either.

      I’m neutral on the whole Tiva th8ng, but I’m not a fan of the actress. Poor taste to give the staff short notice about not returning to the show which affected the storyline they were in the middle of shooting. This was insulting to me as a fan. If you want to leave, then do it like Wa]eatheroy did, like ‘George Clooney did on ER. Give enough notice so y9u don’t short change your fans which is is she did.

    • mary says:

      I don’t understand why it’s a shame? Ziva is a character. Every time the writers kill someone off(supposedly) on any show, does not mean they hate the actor. Sometimes it is just a means to an end.

  14. Robin says:

    I hope Kate’s sister comes back for the finale. I wish Mike Frank’s was still on the show (in the flesh). He could relate to the importance of family.

    Of all the characters that died, I miss ‘Frank the most.

  15. mrjimlabelle says:

    If they kill Tony then there is no reason in keeping Ziva alive.

  16. Robin says:

    On the positive side, Weatherly is getting a better exit Kanic on Castle! See glass half full. 🙂

  17. carol mack says:

    he is going to jail for awhile from that DUI<, nothing in the news at all about it,, after it happened,,, his absence would have been a long one..

    • Robin says:

      Um, Fox News, tmz, and a half of dozen sites talked about that. Community service and three years probation. Sentenced in Jan and he has til June to complete the community service. It would not have interview=fered wit the show, especially since he’s shooting a pilot for cbs

  18. Tricia Alex says:

    I have always loved DiNozzo character on NCIS and Weatherly is definitely a multi-layered character. I’ve loved his contained emotions when he was undercover, when he calls McGee so many Mc________ fill ins. It’s going to be hard to see him leave the show because he has that capability to pull so many different roles off. And, having Robert Wagner as his TV dad was ingenious because they are similar in their ability to do so many roles for his character and with such believability that it’s been fun. Will miss him!

  19. Katherine says:

    So sorry you are leaving Michael. I have enjoyed watching you and your “antics” at times. Looking forward to seeing what your next chapter will be. Take Care.

  20. John NYC says:

    Back to teasing “Tiva”?

    Because that worked so well for the show fisrt go round.

  21. Lee says:

    Tony didn’t have to always be no.2 they could of killed off Director Vance ( dull character in my opinion) and made Gibbs Director who likes in on the action at the same time.
    I get it that Weatherley wants time to spend with family and friends but why not step out for a short while and be scripted as undercover in Israel etc
    I don’t get why some actors leave thinking they will be typecast. Maybe they already are but when your a top character in the most popular series worldwide isn’t that like being at the top of your game how do you get better than that? It’s like a Senator becoming president why would you want to leave the presidency after two terms if you didn’t have to?
    Weatherley plays my favourite character Dinozzo in NCIS I think it impossible to replace him and it will be a nightmare for any actor to sit at that desk , just think of all the negative criticism that actor will get. Oh he’s not as good as Tony oh he’s got no personality oh this actor can’t act he’s not a patch on Weatherley.
    Weatherley has become my favourite actor because of Dinozzo I really don’t think Weatherley needs to try hard to act this character I think it just comes out natural. I think Dinozzo is as close to Weatherley as can be personality wise.
    NCIS is worldwide and as a British citizen watching from the UK when Dinozzo departs so does my favourite actor as we probably won’t get Weatherleys future work on our screens were already two seasons behind on NCIS.
    Thankyou Weatherley for all the years. I have never failed to feel excited about the next upcoming episode but I guess your last episode I won’t be feeling excited about it will be dreading that one. May even have to fly over to New York to watch it on demand rather than wait 1 or 2 years to watch it here.

    • Jono says:

      @Lee In the UK you can see the current series if you watch it on Fox. It’s Channel 5 that’s a year or so behind. Fox is still four weeks behind the US though.

    • mary says:

      Gibbs would never want to be director-& he’s said as much.

  22. Jackie says:

    I’m excited for the finale! I understand his reasons for leaving, and, personally, I like to see my fav actors in other things. I’m sure the money’s good, but creatively I think it would be boring doing the same role for so long.
    Wishing you well, Michael! Can’t wait to see your new projects.

  23. Kir Rich says:

    Wonder if Gibbs will give Tony one last head slap???

  24. Jake says:

    “oafish, overgrown frat boy” – That’s true, but it’s not Weatherly’s fault, it’s the one dimensional writing on this show, and which probably accounts for the show’s success. Maw and Paw can tune in once a week and know exactly what to expect, no surprises. They’ll see ole’ Gibbs gittin’ his man at the end of every episode.

  25. Linda says:

    Tony we will miss you as we do Ziva. You two should have been an item. Here’s a Gibbs head slap from us. Thank you for all the laughs you will be missed

  26. Evan T says:

    DiNozzo’s character will be sadly missed. McGee won’t have a jokester next to him at the office anymore

  27. Shirley Shipe says:

    The character Michael Weatherly portrays in NCIS added the right touch of humor and machismo needed to complement the crew. “Tony” will be missed by us as well as the space Zeva left many seasons ago. I will continue to watch as many reruns as possible to see them again. Good luck to NCIS and Michael.

  28. kath says:

    Michael Weatherly has certainly done yeoman’s work on this show for 13 years and he deserves to be able to move on. I hope he does well in his future career.
    Wow, 2 clips with Ziva in that promo when she isn’t going to be in the episode — talk about a cynical decision on what will bring eyeballs to the episode.

  29. Andrew Hass says:

    I wish Michael Weatherly all the best.As for the show, i’m wondering if they might have asked Michael if there was any special scene he wanted to do in his final episode.Also i think the story that disappeared was the one that Michael mentioned a few months ago involving Palmer.

  30. Pam ZIEBARTH says:

    Going to miss him ..good lucky your alsome .

  31. Rini JG says:

    So sad to see him go. Wish Michael the best with all in the future. (Like his own TV show.) Can’t wait for the finale. PS, don’t think it is going to go as smooth as all the pictures and sneak peaks make it seem.

  32. Jerri Davis says:

    No please don’t go. No one can fill your shoes. You and Gibbs and Abby make the show. And the rest of the people who make the show what it is. Besides who’s head is Gibbs going to slap. I know you won’t get these but at least someone knows how we feel and can do some begging for you to stay!

  33. Antoinette Abela says:

    Wow I hate to see him go. And him and Ziva were connected . But I wish him will. But yes Anthony Denozo this fan will miss you

  34. Beverly says:

    I was very happy with the last episode ❣although I didn’t want Tony to leave, the writers did a great job. It was bitter-sweet❣