When the fall TV season begins, fans of Michael Weatherly are going to have to go through a pretty serious transition, as the actor will no longer be seen in the official duds he's been seen in for the past 13 years on NCIS. Weatherly has a new show now called Bull, where he'll probably also dress pretty smartly, and though his character Jason Bull won't be on the opposite end of the spectrum from Agent Tony DiNozzo, there's at least one key difference in the way the characters' minds work. Here's how the actor put it.
DiNozzo was a guy that sought validation and approval. He was very hungry for that. Bull is not hungry for that, [but] both characters are fascinated by human behavior.
I can totally get that. DiNozzo was the kind of guy who said the goofy thing to get a laugh and got a little louder when he wanted to be heard; he was great at his job, for sure, but he was also good at wanting others to know how great he was. It sounds like Bull won't have quite the same level of extroversion as DiNozzo did. And as silly as it is to admit, the glasses he wears for this role do make him look more self-confident and unfazed by others.
The last time viewers got to see DiNozzo was for the Season 13 finale, and that was a pretty serious affair in itself, as everyone said goodbye to their coworker and friend. I would hope that Bull kicks off with a few laughs, even if they're not had so that someone will like him. I mean, human behavior can be hilarious in all kinds of contexts.
Jason Bull is a psychologist who puts his mental skills to work running a trial consulting service, and the role is based on Dr. Phil McGraw (also an executive producer on the show), who did just that sort of thing before becoming a TV mainstay. But Michael Weatherly is kind of like his character in that he's not exactly looking for approval from Dr. Phil for his performance. Here's what the actor told TV Guide about how he sees his character compared to his real-life counterpart, and how that relates to the show as a whole.
It's not a real person at all. This is a show about people, but there's compressed time frames. There's jumps. It's storytelling. We're trying to get to the heart of a truth. That's our journey as actors, to try and figure out how to tell this story in a relatable fashion.
Generally, you want a story to service strong characters instead of the other way around, but it might be a little different over on Bull. Maybe Jason Bull is so sure of himself that he already knows he's got enough going to make stories happen. And if he ever needed a little confidence, Tony DiNozzo is still out there somewhere, possibly waiting to meet him.