You would think that playing Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo on NCIS would be a dream-come-true type role. And perhaps in some ways, it was for Michael Weatherly. But in the end, he developed a feeling of being stuck.
Fans of the CBS hit show know Michael Weatherly best as Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo. After all, he played the role of the former college athlete-turned special agent to near perfection. He was a regular part of the NCIS cast from 2003 all the way up until 2016. However, like many other actors before him, he grew tired of feeling stuck in the same place.
After leaving the show in 2016, Weatherly sat down with TV Insider to talk about what happened.
“You can’t be in that No. 2 slot [on Gibbs’ team] forever,” Weatherly opened up. “That started to feel constrained to me.”
In the 13 seasons that Michael Weatherly portrayed a special agent on NCIS, almost everyone viewed him as the sidekick to Mark Harmon’s character, Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs. Gibbs is the main character on the show and everyone else just kind of exists in his world. Weatherly talked about what it felt like to be “Number 2” for all those years.
“McGee is looking at him and saying, ‘When you get out of here I want to be No. 2,’ and Gibbs is looking at him like, ‘You’re kind of hanging around. Have you got things you want to do?'”
He can still appreciate the show for all it has done for him and for his career. But he knew when he needed to leave to pursue new things.
“I always appreciated the gift of the job, but the hardest part of the whole experience was thinking, ‘Oh, no…. I think it’s time I have to leave.”
Fans of ‘NCIS’ Didn’t Want to See Special Agent DiNozzo Leave
Fans of NCIS were rightfully upset when Weatherly announced his departure from the show. As a matter of fact, you can still find threads on the internet today about how much fans want him back. And how can we blame them? There wasn’t much better on TV than watching Gibbs and DiNozzo work together on the military crime show.
To explain his absence on the show, the writers on NCIS said that he was going off to care for his young daughter which he shared with former agent Ziva David. His daughter’s name is Tali.
After leaving the show, Weatherly joked with reporters saying, “I have to say it’s also a relief not to have to wear a gun every day.”
But Weatherly didn’t go too far. CBS actually kept the NCIS star on the network as the star of his own show. That’s how Bull got started.