Why Michael Weatherly Could Be Returning To NCIS

Given the fact that "NCIS" has lasted for an impressive 19 seasons and nearly two decades, it makes sense that a few beloved characters have parted ways with the show over its long tenure on primetime television. Most recently, fans had to bid farewell to the show's main character, NCIS Supervisory Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs, portrayed by Mark Harmon. In October 2021, during an episode in the show's 19th season, Gibbs decided to stay in Alaska after finally finding peace following the death of his family, per USA Today.


Over the years, "NCIS" has managed to survive after losing some of its most beloved characters, like Ziva David (portrayed by Cote de Pablo), Tony DiNozzo (portrayed by Michael Weatherly), and Abby Sciuto (portrayed by Pauley Perrette). As ScreenRant reported, the ratings for the show took a nosedive after each of these departures. What's more, other shows that said goodbye to their main characters, like "The Office" and "The Walking Dead," only survived a few more seasons before ending for good.

It might be startling for some to realize that all of the cast members who started out in the first season of the show have either left or had their roles greatly reduced since the 2003 premiere, according to Showbiz CheatSheet. However, that might be about to change.


Michael Weatherly has hinted at an NCIS return

For 13 seasons, fans couldn't get enough of NCIS special agent Tony DiNozzo — especially his flirty banter during his on-again, off-again romantic fling with fellow NCIS agent Ziva David, portrayed by Cote de Pablo. Michael Weatherly left "NCIS" in order to become the lead on "Bull," and, as he told The Hollywood Reporter, the timing couldn't have been more perfect after 13 seasons on the show. "I was burnt out by NCIS and I was ready for a new challenge," he said. 


Lately, Weatherly has been hinting at making a return to "NCIS" in a few of his social media posts. Weatherly tweeted a photo of himself wearing a hat and jacket that resembled the outfit that he wore as DiNozzo. Weatherly captioned the photo, "#ncis Camera is King." In another tweet, which contains a photo of Weatherly dressed at DiNozzo, the actor provides another possible hint of an "NCIS" return. "This guy woke me up this morning," Weatherly captioned the pic "Then I realized it was still a dream. He wouldn't stop talking about Gibbs. And his shoulder holster. #ncis dream."

Michael Weatherly's character, Tony DiNozzo, left to be with his daughter

Michael Weatherly left "NCIS" after Season 13, when his character found out that Ziva David had died and that he and David had a daughter, whom he went to be with in France (via CBR).

David, played by Cote de Pablo, started out as a replacement for Agent Kate Todd in Season 3 and became so much more. After her death, she made a shocking comeback: She was pretending to be dead to protect her loved ones. This twist came during the Season 16 finale, and she was also in the first few episodes of the next season. Eventually, though, she left, too, and moved to France.


In 2016, de Pablo spoke on the departure, saying, "I worked eight years crafting this character and loving her. And so when I felt or I perceived that the character was not being treated with the respect that she deserved, no money in the world [would make her stay]" (via Express.co.uk).

Now, the story of Dr. Jason Bull will come to a close

When Michael Weatherly left the show, he said that Tony DiNozzo would "live on in the hearts and minds of the viewers” and that, in terms of a return, he "would absolutely be open to anything and everything, including things that no one's even thought of yet," according to Newsweek. Furthermore, in 2018, he tweeted, "I will always be ready to play DiNozzo when the time is right" (via Twitter).


And now, he is leaving "Bull," as well. "It's been my privilege to play Dr. Jason Bull but after 6 Seasons of incredible storylines, I've decided it's time to pursue new creative challenges and bring his story to a close," he said on Twitter yesterday. "It has been an honor to work with this talented cast, crew, and writing/producing team who helped reinvent the legal drama. Stay tuned for a big series finish ... Thanks to all the fans from the bottom of my heart. You will always be a part of our Bull family!"

There are 12 episodes left in this current and final season, Season 6.