You can’t blame NCIS fans for hoping against the hope that Michael Weatherly will return to the show to resume his role of Anthony DiNozzo so they can have Tiva in all their glory. After all, fans really wanted Ziva (Cote de Pablo) to come back and watch what happened there. Two and one twentieth episodes down and two more to go with Cote de Pablo.
We have pointed out in the past that it would be difficult to get Weatherly back for a few different reasons, including that there is no verifiable information that he will be back. On the other hand, NCIS has set up a secret operation to get the Pablo back to the studio. Who says they can’t do the same for Weatherly?
‘NCIS’ is dropping hints left and right
The first two episodes of season 17 constantly teased the reunion of Ziva and Tony. First, Tony herself was seen in multiple flashbacks, the most moving when Ziva went back to her old office desk and found Tony sitting right in front of her. On the other hand, at the end of the second episode, Gibbs held his ringing cell phone against Ziva and we got a close-up of the phone with the word “DiNozzo.”
This does not explicitly promise that Tony will return. We are willing to bet that the NCIS showrunners are not sure yet whether they will get Weatherly again. If they can’t do that, they can very easily make the reunion happen outside the screen, just like the mortar attack that would have killed Ziva.
However, the show runners are all too aware of the attachment that fans feel to the couple. In an interview with USA Today, NCIS executive producer Steven Binder said: “We are very well aware of the Tony-Ziva connection and the fans’ wish and response.” Being aware is not the same as following, however.
Why did Michael Weatherly and Cote de Pablo leave ‘NCIS?’
The Pablo first left the show in 2013. Although no specific reason was given at the time, the actress later revealed that she was not satisfied with how Ziva had been reduced in the scripts. She said she could be convinced to return if the writers came up with something compelling, and of course they did so according to her estimation. She enjoyed playing Ziva as someone traumatized by her past.
Weatherly left NCIS in 2016 and later said he was burned out in the show after 13 seasons. He immediately got a new performance in the Bull show, which is now in its fourth season. He and CBS got into a controversy when former Bull co-star Eliza Dushku accused Weatherly of sexual harassment, causing the network to settle with Dushku for $ 9.5 million.
Weatherly apologized for his behavior, but a cloud now hangs above him – so much so that he has deleted his social media accounts. Although Weatherly specifically said he wanted to go back to NCIS, CBS may be wary of the unwanted attention Weatherly could follow to his old show. NCIS also endured an unrelated controversy when former NCIS star Pauley Perrette accused NCIS support pillar Mark Harmon of having traumatized her.
Some kind of reunion will happen, but what will it entail?
Despite all these problems, it is possible that Weatherly will return at least in a small capacity. A proposed spin-off with Ziva and Tony is not completely excluded. Weatherly and the Pablo are clearly crazy about each other, even to the point that they had plans to produce a detective show called MIA for CBS, although they would not shine in that show.
However, given the uncertainty surrounding Weatherly, this seems unlikely, unless Bull may end after four seasons. It seems more realistic that Weatherly could come back for a season-dependent cameo, just like Ziva in May last year, and then the two together could face a metaphorical sunset. If that still could not be resolved, the show plans to at least reunite Ziva with her and Tony’s daughter Tali.
Showrunner Steven D. Binder said: “As a parent it would be terrible that this would not happen, and we are not a terrible show. We treat dead bodies in cases, but we try to have a little light at the end of the day. So I can’t imagine this is something we’re going to see. “