The NCIS universe is gearing up for a franchise first almost as soon as 2023 arrives, with a three-way crossover coming to CBS all on the same night of January 2. But while it’ll be great to see Gary Cole’s Parker, LL Cool J’s Sam and Vanessa Lachey’s Tennant all sharing the screen together, it’s a no-brainer to think that fans would be even more over the moon if the flagship drama used the primetime event to bring back Michael Weatherly’s long-gone Tony DiNozzo and/or Mark Harmon’s Gibbs. It doesn’t look like either will happen, but the DiNozzo corner of the rumor mill has become a bit more active, with Weatherly himself humorously and humbly feeding into the hype.
Though Gibbs has commanded more of the “When will he return?” conversation in the past year, having exited NCIS in Season 19, it doesn’t seem like the actor is ready to start leaning back into that role any time soon, at least according to RadarOnline. However, the outlet is reporting that Harmon’s hesitance to return is potentially allowing Michael Weatherly to make a stronger case for DiNozzo’s return, which the former Bull star is allegedly open and eager to bring into existence now that he doesn’t have any other major broadcast gigs to anchor him.
In case anyone is worried that these rumors are without merit or value, Weatherly himself sparked some excitement with a fun tweet about misunderstanding a restaurant server. (And in a way that seems like it might have been completely made up specifically to bring up DiNozzo returning to TV.) Here’s what he shared on Twitter:
So at sushi lunch the server asked “what’s next, Michael?” I said a podcast and maybe an indie movie, another round of DiNozzo at some point. She stared at me and said, “no-sorry-what’s your next sushi dish?”. Humbled, I of course asked for jalapeño hamachi. And the check. pic.twitter.com/AyeTQXwBEGNovember 29, 2022
At the moment, Weatherly doesn’t seem to have any in-development indie movies to pinpoint for context, though he likely has plenty of plates spinning that the public isn’t aware of until more official steps are taken. In any case, it’s obviously not the indie movie or the podcast that are most worthy of hollering about from rooftops. It’s the fact that he just casually revealed plans for a DiNozzo return in a sushi restaurant, and then on Twitter. I guess that’s a good (lemon)grassroots way to get the word out.
It’s probably also worth more time than any of us have to speculate about what “at some point” means. Has he talked to NCIS’s showrunner and his former bosses and co-stars about coming back, or is this more a situation where he’s speaking confidently without confirmation, assuming those stars will align once the process begins? Executive producer Steven D. Binder talked in May about loving the idea of Weatherly returning now that Bull’s production schedule wouldn’t be an obstacle, and then returned to the subject in September, with the idea that he and Weatherly would touch base about things after the actor took a break from the chaos.
So I do believe, with just a bit more patience, NCIS fans will get a DiNozzo-sized surprise in the next year or two, and hopefully one that lasts for several episodes (a la Cote de Pablo’s multi-ep return in Season 17). That is, of course, unless Weatherly suddenly signs on for another high-profile broadcast drama in the meantime.
All 20 seasons of NCIS are currently available to stream with a Paramount+ subscription, so fans can always go back and relive their years with DiNozzo, whether or not he returns to the show in the imminent future. New episodes air Monday nights on CBS at 9:00 p.m., followed by NCIS: Hawai’i. Head to our 2023 TV premiere schedule to see what new and returning shows will be popping up after the three-series crossover event.
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Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.
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