‘NCIS’: The ‘Graphic’ Way Cote de Pablo Wanted to Kill Off Michael Weatherly’s Character

The power of NCIS never ceases to amaze. Two actors who are no longer full-time cast members still grab attention based on an interview that’s at least nine years old. 

But that’s what happens when one of those actors, Cote de Pablo, returns to the show, at least temporarily. Now that fans are breathlessly awaiting the premiere of season 17, which is expected to explain why de Pablo’s character is back, fans are looking back at clips of their favorite TV couple. The other half of that couple is Michael Weatherly. He played Tony DiNozzo and she played Ziva David. 

The characters were not only fellow agents but lovers who sired a child. This family was why Ziva had to remain hidden until very recently. 

Why Cote de Pablo wanted to ‘kill’ Michael Weatherly

Cote de Pablo
Cote de Pablo and Michael Weatherly | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images

In a playful interview on Entertainment Tonight, the co-stars relentlessly teased each other, showing how much chemistry they had off the show as well as on it. They asked each other questions, with no other interviewer present.

Weatherly reads the question: “If NCIS were ever to kill off my character, how would you like to see them do it?” De Pablo smiles and replies, “I would kiss you and put a knife through your gut.” Weatherly rears back with an incredulous, astonished expression, only managing to say “wow” at first.

“That’s pretty graphic, but it’s kind of passionate, and I like it,” said de Pablo. This was after she had answered another question asking what other actor’s role she would take on another show. De Pablo replied: “Any female character on The Tudors.”

“You just want to get killed by Henry,” Weatherly says. “Or kissed by Henry,” she said.

That kiss/kill juxtaposition seems to have inspired her answer about how she would kill Weatherly, who asks the Chilean-American actress: “Is that a South American thing?” 

What really happened to Michael Weatherly 

As it turned out, Weatherly did leave the show, although not in the dramatic fashion that de Pablo had proposed. The actress had left NCIS first in 2013, prompting the show to say her character was killed in an offscreen mortar attack. 

However, Ziva and Tony had a child together named Tali. This gave NCIS the basis to write Tony out when Weatherly left the show in 2016, saying that Tony left the agency to raise his daughter, apparently as a single dad. 

In real life, Weatherly left the show because, as he said in the Hollywood Reporter: “I was burnt out by NCIS and I was ready for a new challenge. Sometimes change is as good as a rest.”

Weatherly went on to star in the show Bull.

Could Weatherly return to ‘NCIS?’

After a six-year absence, Ziva returned to NCIS to tell Gibbs (Mark Harmon) that his character was in danger. De Pablo will return for at least one episode of season 17 to complete her storyline.

But where does this leave Tony? The show told the audience that Ziva left a note saying that she was in hiding to protect her family. Since the danger was great enough that Ziva resurfaced, one might think that Tony would come along too. 

But that’s easier said than done. Weatherly found himself at the center of a real-life controversy when it was revealed that former Bull co-star Eliza Dushku had accused Weatherly of sexual harassment, and CBS had paid her $9.5 million to settle the case. Weatherly publicly apologized to Dushku but deleted his social media accounts. 

He still has his job on Bull, but the cloud around the actor might keep him from appearing on NCIS too. It could easily be said that Tony remained behind to watch Tali while Ziva went back out in the field, but fans would still like to see both back. At one time, de Pablo’s return seemed unlikely, but could NCIS pull off two surprises after going to great lengths to keep Ziva under wraps?