How DiNozzo And Ziva Officially Exited NCIS

Spoilers for the NCIS season finale are below.

Rarely has a season finale of NCIS had this much anticipation going into it, since tonight was Michael Weatherly’s last episode as Special Agent Tony DiNozzo, effectively ending an era. Many fans have been freaking out over whether DiNozzo would get killed off or allowed to ride off in the sunset, slapping his horse on the back of the head all the way, as well as wanting a resolution to the Tony ‘n’ Ziva story. “Family First” definitely gave viewers answers to those questions, though perhaps not exactly as we all would have wished. Ziva is dead and DiNozzo is now the single dad to their daughter Tali. 

Yes, that was one hell of a shocking turn of events for a character who seemed more like the perennial cool uncle than a real father figure. Tony DiNozzo has been through some dangerous and life-changing moments in the past 13 years, but nothing quite like the cocktail of tragedy and blessing that this finale dropped on him. After seeing it all go down, Michael Weatherly’s thoughts about how the episode surprised him now make a ton of sense, as he clearly had no idea that he had an offspring walking around on the planet. (At least one, anyway.) 

Last week’s episode “Dead Letter” ended on an explosion in a farmhouse in Israel where Ziva was presumed to be staying. Knowing that actress Cote de Pablo had already confirmed she wasn’t in the finale, it still didn’t seem likely that the show would officially put her in the grave. But that’s definitely what happened, and getting another scene with de Pablo would have been really fricking helpful in reclosing that old wound. The episode did use old footage to show DiNozzo trying to cope with his loss, but it wasn’t the same.

Thankfully, the esteemed agent didn’t actually call it quits until after getting his vengeance. When that one-eyed dickhead Kort found himself in an inescapable situation, he told DiNozzo that he hadn’t known Ziva was in the farmhouse, and it really doesn’t matter whether he was being honest or not, as he was soon on the wrong end of a barrage of bullets, with DiNozzo’s being the first to hit their mark. It doesn’t reverse any of the awfulness that happened, of course, but at least we know DiNozzo won’t spend his post-NCIS days having to track him down.

Before that happened, though, DiNozzo got to meet his daughter Tali, and it took him all of three seconds to completely fall in love with her and alter some of his brain synapses to focus on keeping her safe. As he told Gibbs in their heartfelt basement talk, he’s never been another person’s everything before like he is to Tali  now, and he isn’t going to skip out on that. And it definitely helped that Ziva obviously told Tali about DiNozzo being her father, even if Ziva regretfully kept it hidden from DiNozzo himself. His plans are to take her to Israel and then to Paris, since Ziva loved Paris. That’s if he can take her away from his own father, as Robert Wagner returned to the show to witness his son’s drastic life changes. 

Obviously all that wasn’t emotional enough to send DiNozzo out the door in a proper fashion, and to be expected, the final minutes of the show were dedicated to him sharing goodbyes and love-yous with his coworkers and friends, while packing up his desk and restating his oath. (“Very Special Agent Timothy McGee.” Oh, DiNozzo.) And then…work as usual, with agents old and new getting ready to head out on an assignment. My demands for more standing around and sulking went unheeded.

NCIS will return to CBS in the fall, and Michael Weatherly will also be around, as his new CBS show Bull will also be premiering. Catch you in the repeats, former Agent Tony DiNozzo.

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Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.