It’s been five months since actor Michael Weatherly first announced that he would be leaving his longtime gig as Special Agent Tony DiNozzo on the hit CBS drama NCIS, and so nearly everything that has happened on the show since then has been thought of in the context of it possibly being the last time we’d see DiNozzo doing it. (Except for the head slaps. We knew more of those were coming, no matter what.)
While we’re hoping Weatherly will show up again in some capacity in future seasons to offer up more inspiration and doofy memories, DiNozzo definitely gave us our fair share since first appearing on Jag in 2003. So to honor the occasionally pervy goofball for his years of service, here are Tony DiNozzo’s six most unforgettable moments.
When DiNozzo Met GibbsUnlike When Harry Met Sally, no one would ask to have what Gibbs was having, since what he got was winded before getting thrown to the ground and held at gunpoint. Some Super Bowls don’t even have tackles that are this important. Had this been the first time audiences had seen these two characters on screen, rather than as the Season 1 flashback seen in the video above, then the undercover Gibbs’ smile might have been a cause for curiosity. But we all knew that coy look was just Gibbs thinking about how big of a future he and DiNozzo would have together, and how much he would often wish he could deck him across the face again.
When DiNozzo Almost DiedYou’d think that a hit TV show would wait until some point after its second season to put one of its main characters at death’s door due to something as outrageous as the pneumonic plague, but NCIS DGAF. A mysterious lipstick-embossed envelope leads to one of the most hectic situations in DiNozzo’s life and NCIS’ run, as it’s revealed the seemingly innocuous mail was actually the plague and not anthrax (or foot powder) like they’d assumed. Though it’s DiNozzo that’s afflicted (and blue-lipped and puking), it’s Gibbs who bears the brunt of the drama through some wild and emotional behavior, showcased best in his solemn “You will not die” bedside promise. One instance in many where the relationship between these two men couldn’t have been more obvious and strong.
When DiNozzo Was An Undercover SingerI’ve seen a lot of street musicians in my life, ranging from acts that were truly abysmal to ones so good that fame seemed imminent. DiNozzo’s undercover artistry doesn’t quite fit into either one of those categories, but it’s definitely his most fabulous musical moment on the show. As a singer-songwriter, DiNozzo used the classic advice to “do what you know,” and he sings out everything he’s noticing about his surroundings and his target so that the team can listen in. (“The woman looks Teutonic, she drinks a vodka tonic…”) I’m not sorry that the show didn’t give major storylines to DiNozzo’s faux-Jamaican singer in later seasons, but a tie-in album would have been nice.
When DiNozzo Saved Gibbs From DrowningOne act of brazen survival instincts deserves another, and the climax of Season 7’s “Requiem” saw Gibbs rescuing a hostage from the kidnappers that he just screwed out of some ransom money, and then instinctively driving a car into water to avoid instant death from those same kidnappers. (Would have been a good move if not for all the bulletholes.) And straight out of an action movie comes Super-DiNozzo, who blasts the bad guys in mid-run before diving into the water and saving both Gibbs and the former hostage. Sure, the act of heroism was somewhat darkened by Gibbs’ wildly depressing vision of his wife and daughter, but that doesn’t detract one iota of beast-ness from DiNozzo and his soaking-wet selflessness.
When DiNozzo Was Held Captive In SomaliaSeason 6 ended with Ziva as a hostage in a Somalian prison camp, and Season 7 kicked off with the conclusion of that situation, for which DiNozzo intentionally got himself captured in an effort to save the woman he just couldn’t live without. (Until later in life, that is.) As if DiNozzo on truth serum wasn’t enough to inspire the perfect merchandizing opportunity – as an app or a plush doll; we’re not picky – we later get to see one of the smoothest one-liner-to-the-villain-before-something-sweet-happens moments as he uttered “Remember when I told you my boss was a sniper?” to his captor Saleem before Gibbs put a bullet in the dude. All my life, I’ve waited for a perfect moment like that, just with less abduction and unwanted bondage involved.
When DiNozzo And Ziva Said FarewellAfter so many years of watching DiNozzo and Ziva take flirting to the umpteenth level and back, I can’t imagine that there were many people that expected their seemingly fate-mandated coupling to be permanently delayed by Ziva’s decision to leave her NCIS life behind, including DiNozzo. It was, of course, the moment when DiNozzo truly realized just how much he’d be losing through her absence, and few things are more heartbreaking to watch than two meant-to-be people kept apart by non-maneuverable details. And if that scene wasn’t enough of an emotional pull in and of itself, actress Cote de Pablo’s decision not to return to the series weighed on Michael Weatherly’s mind, and that lack of DiNozzo and Ziva’s pseudo-romance in the most recent seasons was ultimately part of why he decided to leave NCIS. It’s sad when something as beautiful as these characters’ farewell can spawn something as hideous as Weatherly’s exit. Sigh.
The Season 13 finale of NCIS, which managed to surprise Michael Weatherly, will air on Tuesday, May 16, on CBS. That won’t be the last time you see Weatherly on TV this year, though, as his new drama Bull will debut its first season later this year.
Which Was Your Favorite Tony DiNozzo Moment?