‘NCIS:’ Why Cote de Pablo’s Return Will Not Bring Back Michael Weatherly

Cote de Pablo returned to NCIS in the final moments of the season sixteen finale and, ever since, fans have been speculating exactly what this means for Michael Weatherly’s Tony DiNozzo. Does Cote de Pablo’s return to the role that catalyzed her career imply that Michael Weatherly may rear his head as DiNozzo once more?

While on NCIS together, Michael Weatherly and Cote de Pablo’s characters boasted one of the most famous will-they-won’t-they slow-boiling romances in all of television history.

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

Their on-screen chemistry – palpable to a fault – led many to believe that there was an off-screen romance being kept under wraps. However, loving fans and tabloids alike wanted this to be true more than the actors.

Though rekindling the steamy Ziva-Tony dynamic on NCIS six years following Ziva’s exit would inspire widespread satisfaction across the show’s international fanbase, there are several reasons Cote de Pablo’s return is unlikely to bring back Michael Weatherly.

CBS is still under fire concerning Michael Weatherly and ‘Bull’

Though Eliza Dushku recently filed a sexual harassment claim against her Bull co-star Michael Weatherly, CBS renewed the series anyway. According to Time Magazine, CBS even defended the renewal following Weatherly’s apology for his inappropriate on-set behavior.

Though Weatherly apologized for his indecency, many fans feel that the show’s renewal – in and of itself – propagates and advocates a negative trend when it comes to powerful men operating in Tinseltown. Weatherly got a slap on the wrist and stayed in the lead role; meanwhile, Dukshu’s part has been cut short, and she will be the one to face career backlash.

Whether you agree with CBS’s decision is inconsequential, what matters is that CBS is under fire. As a result, the network will likely hesitate before placing a controversial figure on their most popular show.

Specific NCIS viewers may be inspired to boycott the series if Weatherly returns, no matter how much they miss the DiNozzo-David energy. In short, Weatherly’s behavior and the network’s laissez-faire attitude concerning the issue have not sat well.

Given Michael Weatherly’s strong reputation on CBS in the past, the Network President Kelly Kahl, as well as other CBS head honchos, felt comfortable renewing Bull, according to Time. However, would they feel comfortable bringing him back to their money-maker? That’s another story.

The ‘NCIS’ narrative issue: If Gibbs is in danger and Ziva needs to protect him, DiNozzo will need to stay home and take care of Tali

While we can’t be sure exactly how NCIS season seventeen will progress, we know that Gibbs is in danger, and Ziva is the one who knows why. It’s probable that Cote de Pablo returns to the show for a few episodes, not just the premiere. And, it will likely be her responsibility to ensure Gibbs’ safety.


Tony left NCIS to care for his daughter after his wife passed (or so he thought). Even though his wife is back, she’s likely in the line of danger, implying that his role as caretaker will still be his primary responsibility.

If Ziva’s life is still on the line, Tony will want to ensure that he remains safe, this way his daughter remains safe. While it would be great to see Tony and David grab their badges once more, it seems like Ziva has to be the hero this time around; meaning, Tony will still play the protective, family-focused father.