How Long Was Michael Weatherly on ‘NCIS’

Fans have long had a deep and irreparable hole in their hearts since the departure of Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo from NCIS. The popular character was not only a fan favorite but a key character on the show’s crime-solving team. Michael Weatherly portrayed DiNozzo for a number of seasons and was crucial in providing both witty banter and much needed comic relief.

One of the reasons the show has remained so popular is due to the excellent casting choices for its characters, including Weatherly’s DiNozzo.

Michael Weatherly’s character was a crucial part of the cast

Michael Weatherly plays Anthony DiNozzo in a shot from 'NCIS'
Michael Weatherly (Anthony DiNozzo) | Jace Downs/CBS via Getty Images

Michael Weatherly’s Tony DiNozzo was a pillar of the show’s cast. Built up as both the comic relief and the eye candy of the team, this character always contributed some lighthearted banter even in the midst of the most horrible criminal cases. His juvenile antics helped to make the brutal cases they covered easier for audiences to bear.

Most beloved, though, was his relationship with co-star Cote de Pablo who played fellow agent Ziva David. The two shared a “cat and mouse” flirtation on the show which captivated fans and pulled heart strings. This became particularly heart wrenching however when Ziva, presumed dead, was no longer a regular character on NCIS.

Weatherly was a long standing fixture on the series

Michael Weatherly first began playing Tony DiNozzo in 2003 and continued his regular role on NCIS until 2016. DiNozzo was a former homicide detective who is known for teasing his colleagues, quoting movies, and not being particularly lucky with women. Weatherly played DiNozzo in every episode for all thirteen seasons as well as appearing in both the show’s spinoffs, NCIS: New Orleans and NCIS: Los Angeles

After 13 seasons on the show, Weatherly left the series to branch out on his own. He took the lead role in the CBS legal drama, Bull. Weatherly plays Dr. Jason Bull who is the head of a trial-consulting firm known for helping to flesh out strategies for winning a case in court. 

Could Weatherly return to ‘NCIS’?

Michael Weatherly told reporters that deciding to leave NCIS was a hard choice. It was ultimately a combination of “the recent departure of Cote de Pablo from the series, as well as his desire to branch out professionally.” In Season 11, when Ziva’s character was no longer part of the show, Weatherly began to feel like a lot of the chemistry with his coworkers was gone and he was ready to try something new. 

“It came about at the right time. I was burnt out by NCIS and I was ready for a new challenge,” Weatherly told reporters. “Sometimes change is as good as a rest.”

More change is potentially on the horizon for Weatherly as well. Fans have been hoping for a Tony and Ziva reunion on NCIS, and rumors have been floating around that there may be a potential rekindling of their on-screen romance. Bringing Ziva and Tony back together would bring fans back to NCIS in hordes, so there is a likelihood that CBS will attempt this in the future.