‘NCIS’: Michael Weatherly Said it ‘Never Occurred’ to Him That He Would Portray DiNozzo for 13 Seasons

by Matthew Wilson

“NCIS” has last longer than most shows on the air with its upcoming 19th Season. Though he bowed out in Season 13, Michael Weatherly was amazed at the longevity of the show. He never imagined he would portray his character Tony DiNozzo for more than a decade.

In a 2016 interview with Parade, Weatherly discussed all things “NCIS” and DiNozzo. The actor quickly became a fan favorite on the show, becoming the right-hand man of Mark Harmon’s Leroy Gibbs. In fact, several fans still hope that Weatherly might return one day. The actor admittedly had a fun time in the role over the years as an action star.

“The idea of playing a character this long had never occurred to me,” he says. “But I will say on the good side of the pros and cons column, I always have to have pros, which is Tony DiNozzo got to chase bad guys, run and jump and swim and fire his gun and do all kinds of crazy action stuff over the years, including giving Mark Harmon mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.”

Michael Weatherly Was Reluctant to Join ‘NCIS’

But fans almost didn’t get to see Michael Weatherly on the show. In fact, he was very reluctant to join the part. He admitted as much in an interview with Futon Critic, discussing the early days of the role. It took a bit of convincing to get Weatherly cast as “NCIS” mainstay Tony DiNozzo.

“I was a little reluctant initially. The notion of a ‘JAG’ spin-off. Which if you remove the word ‘spin’ is how I believe it was referred to by certain people. So there was like stigma attached to it already,” Weatherly told the outlet.

When Weatherly did join “NCIS,” he thought the pilot episode might not even get picked up to series. He imagined the role as a quick one and done before moving onto something else. But not only did “NCIS” go to series, it also ended up being one of TV’s long-running dramas.

In a separate interview with Global News, Weatherly discussed feeling insecure in the role as DiNozzo. It was a part that he had to grow into over the next ensuing decade. Fortunately, he had a much easier time in his follow-up show “Bull.”

“When I started on ‘NCIS,’ I was 34 years old, coming out of a relationship that was coming apart at the seams, and I was a little insecure about my place in the world. I didn’t feel whole. That [‘NCIS’] insecure character came out of that place, so the revelation to me has been: ‘Bull’ is going to teach me a lot, but the first lesson is you don’t need anybody’s approval. Know what you know, and own that,” he said.