‘NCIS’: The Hilarious Way Michael Weatherly Convinced Execs to Let Him Direct an Episode

Michael Weatherly played Tony DiNozzo on NCIS for 13 years. During his time on the show, he got the opportunity to direct. Here’s how Weatherly finally convinced the producers to let him direct after several tries.

Michael Weatherly directed two ‘NCIS’ episodes

Sean Murray and Michael Weatherly on the set of NCIS |  Darren Michaels/CBS via Getty Images
Sean Murray and Michael Weatherly on the set of NCIS | Darren Michaels/CBS via Getty Images

Michael Weatherly tells Watch! magazine he always wanted to direct. The first NCIS episode he directed was a 2011 episode titled “One Last Score,” which aired during season 8, episode 17. He became the first NCIS cast member to direct an episode, according to TV Guide. After that, he directed a 2013 episode titled “Seek,” which aired during season 10, episode 18.

Weatherly tells the publication that co-star Mark Harmon often says nobody is trying to take another person’s job on the NCIS set. However, Weatherly says he felt differently. “Mark Harmon has always said nobody here wants anybody else’s job — and here I am, trying to do somebody else’s job,” said Weatherly.

Weatherly tells TV Guide his character goes through a significant change in the first episode he directed. “By the end of this episode, I felt DiNozzo had significantly altered,” says Weatherly. “He awakens from a four-year sleep. I was glad to see him back! In this episode and the next, he’s in a Sean Connery place — pretty deadly serious with a twinkle in his eye.”

How Michael Weatherly convinced ‘NCIS’ producers to let him direct

How did Weatherly get the chance to direct his first NCIS episode? The actor tells Watch! magazine he was given the green light after he kept pestering the producers. He reveals he kept asking to direct from season 3 all the way until season 7. Weatherly said he stepped up his efforts in season 5, where he describes himself as “pestering them all the time.” His persistence paid off, and by season 8, he was able to take the lead.

“I don’t have much sway, but I was adamant I’d direct,” said Weatherly. “I started asking around season 3, and by season 5 I was pestering them all the time. By season 7 they couldn’t say no, and they let me direct one finally in season 8. I showed them I could be so unpleasant, they had to let me do it.”

Michael Weatherly’s favorite episode

Emily Wickersham and Michael Weatherly  | Greg Gayne/CBS via Getty Images
Emily Wickersham and Michael Weatherly | Greg Gayne/CBS via Getty Images

Weatherly told Parade magazine he has several favorite episodes, but there is one at the top of his list titled “Truth or Consequences,” which aired during the first episode of Season 7. He said he likes this episode because it gives viewers a review of all the characters and their backgrounds.

“The reason I keep going back to that episode is that it was really a primer on what NCIS was at that point in time,” said Weatherly. “Because of the story that was unfolding and the way that story got told, if you were a brand-new viewer, it really unfolded and revealed all the characters and the dynamics of the show, and it really fired on all cylinders.”

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