‘NCIS’: Is Michael Weatherly Teasing Major Return Following Mark Harmon’s Departure?

by John Jamison

Michael Weatherly is a CBS man through and through. He’s one of the founding cast members of the NCIS franchise. From 2003 to 2016, he played Anthony DiNozzo on the hit CBS series. These days, you can catch him as the brilliant trial consultant Jason Bull on another of the network’s popular offerings, Bull. But is there a return to the long-running NCIS in his future?

The former NCIS star may have left fans a trail of bread crumbs over the past few weeks, teasing a possible return to the series.

A few weeks ago, NCIS seemed to be on Michael Weatherly’s mind. He shared a tweet of a still from the 200th episode of the show.

Could Weatherly’s tweet indicate his imminent return? It’s possible. Though, it’s not as if his exit from NCIS was ever completely final. He appeared briefly in episodes in 2018 and 2019. Perhaps the best indicator of a possible return, however, came over the summer.

Weatherly shared a tweet from the set of NCIS in July. The behind-the-scenes shot shows Weatherly getting up into the face of a camera rig. But the more significant aspect of the picture is the fact that he appears to be in his Anthony DiNozzo costume.

That detail wasn’t lost on many fans, either.

The Story Behind Michael Weatherly’s Exit from ‘NCIS’

Michael Weatherly’s departure from NCIS in 2016 came as a disappointment to countless fans. Not because Weatherly was moving on, but because they had only just gotten over Ziva David actor Cote de Pablo’s own exit a few seasons prior. In fact, that may have been the primary reason for Weatherly leaving in the first place.

“The badinage and sparring and flirting between [Tony and Ziva] and how they would swing from siblings to near lovers and back to buddies, that was gone. And then I got to the point where I felt I’d stayed at the party for too long,” Weatherly told TV Insider in 2016.

Weatherly didn’t go so far as to say anything like this outright, but his 13 years on NCIS made him a bankable TV star. And the first role he landed when he left the series was the title character of a brand new CBS show. Was he looking to step out from under Mark Harmon’s shadow? We can’t be sure. But keep your eyes peeled for DiNozzo through Season 19.