‘NCIS’: Why Alum Michael Weatherly Says Mark Harmon Taught Him to ‘Stay Complicated’ as an Actor

by Robert Davis

NCIS alum Michael Weatherly described in an interview why Mark Harmon’s lesson to “stay complicated” as an actor has been so impactful on his career.

“What I learned from Mark Harmon is that it’s my job as an actor to stay complicated and to keep that,” Weatherly said in the interview. “Thankfully, we had a great writer and he makes sure that I’m very complicated. Much more complicated than I am in real life.”

Weatherly plays Anthony DiNozzo in the series, and appeared in over 300 episodes throughout his 13-year stint. Fans have been particularly fond of DiNozzo’s on-screen chemistry with co-star Ziva David, played by Cote de Pablo.

However, Weatherly was open about his desire to leave the show. He told TV Insider that the idea was not new to him., and that filming more NCIS episodes didn’t change his mind.

“Their great dynamic, the badinage and sparring and flirting between those two characters and how they would swing from siblings to near lovers and back to buddies,” Weatherly told the entertainment news site. “That was gone, and then I got to the point where I felt I’d stayed at the party for too long. I would look around the room and other people were really in sync and having fun. The show was a huge success, but I just suddenly realized that I probably had other things that I should be doing. And then the wanderlust set in. I directed a documentary. I have a production company. And I wanted to spend time with my family.”

NCIS After Weatherly’s Departure

The stakes are high for the CBS drama which has been on the air since 2003. According to the Nielsen ratings for the week of June 21, NCIS was the fifth-most watched show in the U.S. It garnered a rating of 2.6 with just over 4 million people tuning in.

Even so, dull moments between characters still come into focus. An analysis by Nicki Swift says that “with major characters like Tony leaving the show, it has become a continuous challenge for the show to move on.”

Weatherly Takes on Bull

Following his departure from NCIS, Weatherly took on the eponymous role of Jason Bull in the CBS drama “Bull.” Bull is described by IMDb as “the ultimate puppet-master” who uses scientific data, human intuition, and some psychology to manipulate the legal system in favor of justice.

Bull has an incredible team of tech experts at his side as well. They include his quick-witted ex-brother-in-law, Benny Colón, who often plays a defense attorney in mock trials. Marissa Morgan is a cutting-edge neurolinguistics expert from the Department of Homeland Security. Danny James is a former NYPD detective and the firm’s investigator.

Then there are characters such as the haughty millennial hacker Cable McCrory. McGrory is responsible for gathering cyber intelligence and creates a little mischief along the way. Finally, there is Chunk Palmer, a fashion-conscious stylist and former All-American football player who fine-tunes clients’ appearances for trial.

If that’s not a complicated enough cast for you, Weatherly said his job to make it complicated.