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The Season 13 finale of NCIS saw the end of an era as Michael Weatherly departed the show. He played the beloved Tony DiNozzo for the show's duration so far, and it’s hard to imagine the future without him. Luckily, his departure was announced well ahead of time, so at least it came as no terrible surprise that NCIS would be continuing without DiNozzo. As it turns out, an awful lot of people tuned in to see Weatherly's swan song as the character. The finale of Season 13 scored an impressive 2.5 rating in the 18 – 49 age demographic and had 17.6 million viewers glued to their seats.
The numbers for the Season 13 finale are a 25% increase from those the Season 12 finale pulled in, according to Variety. Last year’s 2.0 rating and 14.9 million viewers was still great, but the 2.5 rating and 17.6 million for Michael Weatherly’s final episode was even better. The finale numbers are also the highest that NCIS has achieved since January of 2016, when an episode climbed to a 2.7 demographic rating with approximately 19 million viewers.
Hopefully, all those fans who tuned in to the Season 13 finale were somewhat happy with what they saw. NCIS was never going to please everybody with an episode that ends the tenure of a popular character, but Tony DiNozzo got a pretty solid sendoff. There was certainly plenty of tragedy in the reveal that his long-running love interest Ziva had been killed off, but at least DiNozzo himself survived. Ziva had been gone from the series since Season 11, so her death was easier to take than DiNozzo’s would have been on-screen in his final episode.
DiNozzo and Ziva may not have gotten to ride off into the sunset together, but DiNozzo was left with a reminder of what they shared together. His discovery that he had a daughter that Ziva had kept secret from him worked both to give fans as much closure to their relationship as was possible without actress Cote de Pablo returning, and young Tali gave DiNozzo a good reason to leave the team at NCIS without being killed off or forced to go on the run. He got a bittersweet ending that hasn’t ruled out the possibility of Michael Weatherly returning for a guest arc in the future. He did get his revenge on Ziva’s killer, so we don’t have to worry that he’ll be dragging his daughter along on a quest to hunt anybody down.
Fortunately, NCIS has been renewed for two seasons on CBS, so there’s plenty of time for Michael Weatherly to return for an episode or two. There will be a couple of new characters on board to fill the gap, and NCIS will undoubtedly be a very different show if and when Tony DiNozzo makes his way back. Only time will tell how much of a difference Weatherly’s departure may have on the ratings for Season 14.
NCIS is now on hiatus until the premiere of Season 14 in the fall. Check out our summer TV premiere schedule to see what you can watch in the meantime, and take a look at our breakdown of Michael Weatherly’s six most unforgettable NCIS moments for a blast from the past.