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For 13 years, Michael Weatherly has played “Very” Special Agent Tony DiNozzo on one of TV’s top-rated shows, NCIS. Yesterday, CBS confirmed that Weatherly has decided to leave the series at the end of the season. After receiving Facebook messages and texts from my mother, Joyce Bierly, using the words “heartbroken” and “devastated,” I phoned her this morning to
exploit help her process her feelings.
Related: Michael Weatherly Leaving ‘NCIS’
What was your initial reaction to the news?
I was shocked. It was like out of the blue. It’s another piece of the chemistry gone, and then you have to adjust to someone else in the show. Plus, I kind of feel like it’s family. You just get used to seeing his sense of humor, and his interaction with his cast mates. When he makes a comment, he always seems to sense that Gibbs [played by Mark Harmon] is behind him. I always like his reaction when Gibbs raps him on the back of the head. He still acts surprised after all those years of him doing it.
What do you hope happens to DiNozzo?
My ultimate dream would be that somehow he gets to be with Ziva [played by Cote de Pablo, who left the show in 2013]. Either he gets to be with Ziva or he exercises his own wings and takes over another team. I hope they don’t kill him.
But if they kill him, how would you want him to go?
I would want it to be calm and peaceful and quick. Gibbs has lost so much. If he were to die… I just think it’s gonna be harder on the fans to watch Gibbs go through that. I don’t think they need to put Gibbs through anymore, I guess is what I’m saying. I think it needs to be a positive departure.
It’s Michael Weatherly’s decision to leave. Are you at all angry at producers for letting him go?
No. If he wanted to go, evidently he feels it’s time, and ultimately it’s his decision.
Do you anticipate that you’ll keep watching next season, or is this the last straw after losing Ziva?
No, no, I’ll keep watching, because there’s still too many characters I feel that are family.
NCIS is obviously a hugely successful series, yet there are still so many TV viewers who’ve never seen an episode of it. What’s special about this show that you wish those people would understand?
I think it’s the chemistry between all of the characters. The writers and the actors have been able to capture the feeling of a family — that everybody has each other’s back, and even though they have different backgrounds and everything, they all kind of mesh together into a really well-oiled machine that works well together but also exudes a family feeling.
If you could say anything to the NCIS producers, what would it be?
If they — and I’m sure they will — fill that position with someone, I hope it’s someone who they allow to put their own mark on the part like they did Michael Weatherly. I think the writers did a lot, but I think Michael Weatherly, with his personality, was able to put his personal stamp on it. It’s just gonna take a while to adjust. I’ve adjusted to Bishop [played by Emily Wickersham, who joined the show after de Pablo’s departure]. So they seem pretty good at being able to infuse someone else into the group.
If you could say anything to Michael Weatherly, as a long-time fan of the show, what would it be?
Thanks for the memories.
NCIS airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on CBS.