‘NCIS’ Star Brian Dietzen Explained Why Michael Weatherly Leaving Show Created a ‘Vacuum’

by Megan Molseed
Photo: Michael Desmond/CBS © 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.

During the nineteen seasons that the hit CBS investigative series, NCIS has been on the air, fans have certainly seen quite a few changes to the core cast.

While all of the major NCIS character exits have been big in one way or another, one of the popular show’s first big exits along these lines was that of Michael Weatherly’s Tony DiNozzo in the thirteenth season.

And, notes one NCIS cast member, Brian Dietzen, this exit certainly changed the dynamic of the series.

Although, the NCIS star notes, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, the Jimmy Palmer actor explains, Dinozzo’s exit gave the show the opportunity to introduce a variety of new and exciting characters to the popular series.

“There’s a sense of opportunity there,” Brian Dietzen tells Variety of the changes that came about due to Weatherly’s exit from the series.

“I think that when Michael left — a wonderful storyteller and performer with such a huge energetic presence — that naturally left a vacuum of some sort,” the television star explains.

‘NCIS’ Brings Some New Storylines To Fill Weatherly’s Role

Dietzen went on to add that the NCIS showrunners made a good choice in how they chose to handle the empty spot that was left on the team when DiNozzo left the show.

“It’s been great to see not a singular direct replacement for his character come in,” Brian Dietzen continues. “Which I think would have been such a misstep.”

Brian Dietzen adds that this expansion has allowed the series to highlight different characters in episodes throughout the seasons.

“With things like this happening, a Jimmy Palmer episode, we can say, “Look! We also have this guy in our stable,'” the NCIS star explains. “Let’s concentrate on him for a week.”

While leaving a pivotal role in the series empty was a big part of Michael Weatherly’s NCIS exit, Brian Dietzen adds that there are a variety of other changes on the set after Weatherly left the show.

“Well, there are more pants,” the star jokes of the changes he has seen since Weatherly left the series. “’cause he used to take off his pants a lot.”

Weatherly Finds Success On ‘Bull’

Plus, Dietzen notes, the cast and crew of the popular CBS series are happy to see Weatherly thrive as he finds great success with the new projects he picked up after NCIS.

“With Michael leaving, the rest of the NCIS family is just so happy for his success on Bull,” Dietzen says of his former costar.

“We want him to be successful ’cause he’s been our brother for the last 13 years,” the NCIS actor adds. Dietzen also says that while they are all happy for their former costar’s success, saying goodbye to Weatherly was a sad moment among the cast.

“It’s also bittersweet,” Dietzen notes. “As happy as we are for him, it’s sad we don’t get to hang out with him on a daily basis anymore.”