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For all the exciting television that's on the way this fall, stalwart CBS viewers are no doubt most enthused to see how NCIS is going to follow up on that shocking Ziva reveal in the Season 16 finale. It's known that actress Cote de Pablo will be returning in the Season 17 premiere, and possibly more, but the big question now is whether or not the drama's producers will secretly bring former NCIS regular Michael Weatherly back to deliver a highly anticipated reunion between Ziva David and Tony DiNozzo.
Considering Michael Weatherly is busy on his own CBS drama, Bull, his return to NCIS in the new season admittedly doesn't seem all that likely, regardless of what the fanbase is clamoring for. However, Weatherly himself fueled speculation about his return in a video made for a Cote de Pablo fan page on Twitter. Here's what the actor says in it:
Michael: So Heather, we're hanging out here and we're just wondering, are you gonna be watching Ziva come back to NCIS? [Asked if he will be coming back.] Shhh, I can't talk about...
At that point, the video ends on Michael Weatherly's playful face as he assumedly feigns displeasure over being asked about his own possible return. Weatherly technically didn't lean too heavy in any direction with that answer, which neither confirmed nor denied the possibility of Tony and Ziva getting at least one more scene together.
However, his specific answer still provides enough solid ground to start planting theory flags. By saying he can't talk about a potential return to NCIS, Michael Weatherly is seemingly lending credence to the idea that he has a definite reason why he can't speak about his own possible involvement in Season 17. A reason such as: he is absolutely making a guest appearance in the premiere.
Alas, there's Michael Weatherly's jokey nature. The self-aware coyness makes it hard to fully believe that he and NCIS's creative team figured out a proper way to re-introduced Tony DiNozzo after a three-year absence.
Check the post out below to make your own assumptions about what Weatherly may have been hinting at.
Another factor that could come into play here is Michael Weatherly's reputation within CBS. The actor came under fire last last year after some damning allegations made by former Bull star Eliza Dushku, who was granted a $9.5 million settlement by the network after her previously reported sexual harassment claims against Weatherly more or less led to the actress getting written off of the show. (To be expected, the NCIS cast was on his side.)
CBS execs even took a publicity hit whenever it was announced that Bull was renewed for Season 4. Many couldn't understand how the network could continue to work with Weatherly, though the higher-ups at CBS have their reasons, which could basically be summed up as: people still watched Bull after the allegations came out. So CBS might as well keep it going, right?
If NCIS does truly find a way to bring Tony DiNozzo temporarily back into the fold for some hugs and kisses with Cote de Pablo's Ziva, it'll be one of the biggest moments in the drama's long history. While it's known that the two characters ended up romantically linked, resulting in the birth of daughter Tali, NCIS fans never actually got to see their romance blossom for themselves, having only witnessed a decade's worth of flirting prior to that.
Ziva and Tony did share that kiss in Cote de Pablo's final episode as a series regular, but that was it. One kiss definitely wasn't enough to sate the fandom, which will be as vocal as ever as Season 17 gets closer and closer. Here's hoping everything works out.
At this point, we're still a little over a month away from NCIS premiering its seventeenth season on CBS, which will go down on Tuesday, September 24, at 8:00 p.m. ET.