Michael Weatherly takes his finale bow as Anthony DiNozzo on tonight’s season 13 finale of NCIS. The 47-year-old actor has been with the show since it began in September 2003 and will remain a part of the CBS family in his next project.
Weatherly won’t have much time off before he starts back to work on his new series, Bull, set to premiere this fall on CBS. The show is based on the early career of Dr. Phil McGraw and his time as a trial consultant.
Find out what led Weatherly to call it quits on NCIS and what lies ahead.
Cote de Pablo’s Departure Got Weatherly Thinking About Leaving ‘NCIS’
Weatherly has played Special Anthony DiNozzo ever since he and the NCIS team were introduced in a two-part episode of JAG in the spring of 2003. That fall, NCIS premiered and the show has become the No. 1 drama on television and the No. 1 show watched around the world.
But after 13 seasons, Weatherly decided to turn in his badge and pursue something new. He first started thinking about leaving when his longtime scene partner, Cote de Pablo, who played Ziva David for eight seasons, left at the beginning of season 11. He told TVGuide:
Their great dynamic, the badinage and sparring and flirting between those two characters 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. I would look around the room and other people were really in sync and having fun. The show was a huge success, but I just suddenly realized that I probably had other things that I should be doing.
Weatherly told the producers during season 12 that the 2015-2016 season would be his last. He made it official on January 5 when he tweeted out the news.
Will Weatherly Ever Return to ‘NCIS’?
Weatherly not only starred on NCIS for 13 seasons, he also made a few cameos as Tony DiNozzo on the spinoff series, NCIS: Los Angeles and NCIS: New Orleans. He told reporters on a press call that he’d be willing to return as a guest star on the flagship series or the spinoff series as well as reprising the character on something that doesn’t even exist at the moment.
I believe in the franchise of NCIS very much. I would absolutely be open to anything and everything, including things that no one’s even thought of yet. So the long answer is yes.
His co-star Sean Murray, who has played Special Agent Timothy McGee since season one, looks forward to having his friend come back for a visit. He and Weatherly formed a deep bond on and off screen over that Murray described to Entertainment Tonight as a “big brother, little brother relationship.”
[In] the world of NCIS, characters come and go — even when they’re deceased sometimes. If Michael were to do the odd episode here or there, or drop in to the NCIS world for a special occasion, that’s something that could very well happen. He has talked about [that] and said that he would love to do it.
He Fell in Love With the ‘Bull’ Script
Weatherly’s hiatus from television, or CBS for that matter, won’t last long. The network has picked up his pilot, Bull, based on the early career of Dr. Phil McGraw during his days as head of one of the most prolific trial consulting services of all time. Weatherly stars as the young McGraw, who will serve as an executive producer with his son, Jay McGraw.
Bull marked the first time the actor has auditioned for a role since Dark Angel in 1999 when he still had a “black-and-white headshot and a VHS cassette with my demo reel,” he told TV Guide. The show comes from Steven Spielberg’s production company, Amblin Entertainment, and has Donnie Brasco writer Paul Attanasio as its showrunner.
Those two things alone had Weatherly giddy to take on the part, but first, he had to talk it over with his wife Bojana Jankovic, he told TV Guide.
I sat down my wife and I said, ‘We have to have a serious talk, because I think I just fell in love.’ Her eyes popped open wide and I said, ‘No, no, with a script.’
He Wanted to Spend Some Time as a Regular Guy
Weatherly has rarely had a moment to himself in the last decade and he looks forward to “getting back to reality,” at least until he’s back on set for Bull, he told TV Guide. “I’m very excited to get back to reality for a few months, even if I have no idea what the future holds. As Pinocchio would say, ‘I’m a real live boy!’”
He’s also wants to spend more time with his family. Weatherly married his wife, a doctor, in September 2009. They have two young children, 4-year-old daughter Olivia and 2-year-old son Liam. He also has a 20-year-old son, August, from his first marriage to actress Amelia Heinle.
Weatherly told reporters during the press call:
I’ve been given this great moment to look down the path a little bit and make decisions that haven’t been available to me in 14 years. I really want to spend a lot of time with my family, and not just my two children at home here but my 20-year-old and my parents on the East Coast, and friends I haven’t seen in quite some time.