Michael Weatherly Sparks 'NCIS' Return Rumors

Michael Weatherly teased a possible return to NCIS on New Year's Day. Since Weatherly left NCIS to star in his own show, the now-canceled Bull, in 2016, the actor has continued to give fans hope that they have not seen the last of Anthony "Tony" DiNozzo. The character was an important part of NCIS' first 13 seasons and became one of the most popular roles on the series, alongside Mark Harmon's LeRoy Jethro Gibbs.

On New Year's Eve, Weatherly shared a video from his home, offering fans words of hope for 2023. However, one fan only wanted to look backward. "We all would rather look at you and Ziva reuniting and enjoying that moment," they wrote, referring to Cote de Pablo's character Ziva David.

"Stay tuned... for this might be an interesting year for such 'moments!'" Weatherly replied. Of course, this got fans super excited about the prospect of Weatherly and de Pablo returning to the show. "Good! Bring it on," one wrote.

Weatherly has not been seen on the show since the May 2016 episode "Family First." In that episode, Tony was told that Ziva died in Israel, but she gave birth to Tali, a daughter, several years ago. Tony told Gibbs he would leave the team to raise Tali in Israel first, then to Paris. During the Season 17 premiere in September 2019, Ziva returned and was on the run. She said she planned to get in contact with Tali's father, but Tony never appeared on the show.

At the time Ziva returned, Weatherly was busy filming Bull. After the show was canceled, NCIS producers sounded open to bringing Tony back to NCIS. "I absolutely would love to do something like that," executive producer Steven D. Binder told TV Insider in May 2022. "That's going to depend on Michael Weatherly. He and I have talked over the years about it and he was always on Bull and [since] he was on Bull, it just seemed weird and not right."

In September, Binder said Weatherly was enjoying his time away from the rigors of working on network television. "When [Michael] left NCIS, he said to me, 'I am never going to do network television again,'" Binder told TVLine. "He had just had some kids, and the hours are so long... but then this Bull thing landed in his lap, and again he was working like a fiend. So I suspect – forgetting Tony DiNozzo for a minute – that Michael Weatherly is on vacation. I've known him for a while and I think he needs to chillax and go someplace tropical. I haven't spoken to him about that but we've talked over the years, and that's my guess."

NCIS Season 20 resumes on Monday, Jan. 9 at 8 p.m. ET with the franchise's first three-show crossover. The original NCIS will lead into NCIS: Hawai'i and NCIS: Los Angeles. NCIS will move to its regular Monday, 9 p.m. ET timeslot on Jan. 16.