‘NCIS’: Former Star Referenced ‘Magnum, P.I.’ When Talking About How Show Got ‘Kind of Silly’

by Joe Rutland
(Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic/Getty Images)

Former “NCIS” star Michael Weatherly started looking upon the show where it appeared to get “kind of silly” during a 2007 interview.

Weatherly, who played Anthony DiNozzo for 13 seasons on the CBS crime drama, spoke about “NCIS” with Brian Ford Sullivan of The Futon Critic.

He said that his sister sampled one episode three years ago, which would have been in 2004.

“She was like, ‘Yeah, it’s not really my thing,'” Weatherly said. “And I’m like, ‘Oh, which one did you see?’ And then you feel terrible because you’re like, ‘No, no, that was a bad hair day.'”

‘NCIS’ Star Saw Show Winning Over Audiences But ‘Not Taking Ourselves Seriously’

He said the show was winning over audiences “through word of mouth and we’re not taking ourselves seriously.”

“And I think a show like ‘JAG’ did take itself more seriously,” Weatherly said. “Or in the sense that a lot of procedural crime dramas that are on now have a sense of earnestness and it’s part and parcel of the genre.”

Weatherly, who now stars in CBS’s “Bull,” said at the time he thought “NCIS” was “a little more … like, I think ‘Magnum, P.I.’ knew all along that it was all kind of silly, with Zeus and Apollo and the Ferrari and the Audi and the wine cellar, Robin Masters and Higgins, a 40-year-old bachelor in a Hawaiian shirt, wearing tiny little shorts and a mustache.”

Weatherly Compared ‘Magnum, P.I.’ To Being Like Grade A American Cheese

He said that “Magnum, P.I.,” which starred Tom Selleck as private investigator Thomas Magnum in the original series, “was like a sliver of Grade A American cheese. But it also had this Vietnam backstory to it.

“I think ‘NCIS’ operates on the same [level], you know,” Weatherly said. “It’s not the ‘A-Team’ where it’s just pure fictional … it’s not just cheese in a can. It’s actually just cheese on a block.”

Weatherly as DiNozzo would team up with Sean Murray, who plays Timothy McGee, and go out in the field. Their work on “NCIS” together was quite popular with the show’s fans. DiNozzo’s character also made appearances on “NCIS: Los Angeles” and the now-canceled “NCIS: New Orleans.”

Murray has been a part of the original “NCIS” cast since the show started and will return this fall. Obviously, “NCIS” has been a part of the CBS primetime lineup for 18 seasons. Actors Mark Harmon, David McCallum, and Murray are just part of the show’s cast.

As for “Bull,” Weatherly has been the lead actor in that series for five seasons. It, too, has been picked up for the fall season by CBS. That show is loosely based upon the early career of Dr. Phil McGraw, who went on to find fame and fortune with his show “Dr. Phil.” McGraw is an executive producer on the show as Weatherly plays Dr. Jason Bull.