The Scoop Behind Michael Weatherly's Dr. Phil/NCIS Webisodes
Michael Weatherly and Dr. Phil McGraw | Photo Credits: Ron Jaffe/CBS Television Distribution / Peteski Productions
On NCIS, Tony DiNozzo is always getting his head slapped, but does he need to have it shrunk, too? Michael Weatherly has created a couple of surreal YouTube clips in which the raffish agent is confronted by Dr. Phil at the behest of concerned buddy Jimmy Palmer — based, he says, on "the idea that DiNozzo would get grilled psychologically by someone even more alpha-male than [Mark Harmon's] Gibbs."
Weatherly concedes that taking the hit dramedy's characters into strictly comedic territory "did confuse some" at the network when he proposed the webisodes. "There were definitely some raised eyebrows. But I think that DiNozzo, Jimmy Palmer [Brian Dietzen] and Abby Sciuto [Pauley Perrette] are the tricycle of comedy on the show, so that was an appropriate usage of characters." Sean Murray's McGee also has a cameo.
"CBS allowed me to do this, but it's definitely not sanctioned," says the 007-loving Weatherly. "It's the Never Say Never Again of NCIS."
For Dr. Phil, interacting with fictional characters was a first. "I'm an ardent NCIS fan, so I was totally up on DiNozzo's pathology," he says. "From the problems he has with his dad to all his failed relationships to how he relates to his coworkers, he's a shrink's field day. I've had some real-life Tonys on the show, and they make for great television."
After taping the bits, Dr. Phil says he told the actors he fantasized about being a character on the show who gets shot and dies from his wounds. "Sick, I know!" he says. "Then again, maybe Michael could just slap my character in the head to get even."