Is Tony DiNozzo Leaving NCIS?
For the past thirteen years, Michael Weatherly has been a major part or the hit TV series, NCIS. Playing Anthony DiNozzo, affectionately called Very Special Agent Tony DiNozzo, he has wormed his way into our hearts and minds. At times silly, goofy, serious, quiet, demanding, and always entertaining, he has been the basic co-lead with Mark Harmon who plays Leroy Jethro Gibbs for the entirety of the show which consists of in excess of 300 episodes thus far. Now the time is coming to allow him to leave the show, whether we want him to go or not.
Who Is Very Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo?
An only child whose mother died when he was 8 years old, he has a lifelong love of films and is constantly quoting lines and recalling scenes of various films that remind him of situations he may find himself in. It is safe to say that he has a love of cinema like few others. Although his family has (had) wealth, he remains aloof from it preferring to make his own way in the world. For a good portion of the show he rarely has interaction with his father although he has a deep love of the flawed man played by Robert Wagner to perfection. In recent years he and his father have begun to repair the damage done in years past and it appears as though they now have a good relationship.
In his early years he was a constant flirt, often wooing various women but yet he rarely understands what their true needs are. At times, he was a borderline (often crossing the border) macho man, a Lothario, and reminded me of another character from TV some years back: Dan on Night Court. He eventually grew up enough to notice something was missing from his life and began to seek deeper relationships. The first truly intense relationship we see is when he is undercover with the daughter of an arms smuggler. He unintentionally falls for her but when she learns of his deceptions, he is left with nothing but a bruised and broken heart. Since that time there have been several serious and semi-serious relationships in his life, including one we will speak of as a possible future for him later on.
Tony loves to call the other agents "Probie" which stands for Probationary Agent, even while he himself is kept in check via the ever popular Head Slap from Gibbs. He has led teams at various times and done spectacularly well, good enough that he was offered his own team. Turning it down was a turning point in his life on the show, and now a part of me wonders if this is the vehicle the writers will use to allow him to leave the show. Again, more on this possibility later.
Another word I have not used yet to describe Tony is: dedicated. While his soft side, his silly side is in evidence almost constantly he is dedicated to Gibbs and the rest of the team in no uncertain terms. Temptations have come and gone and still he remains, intent on nothing more than the team and solving the case. The team is his family and through this family we have adopted them as a part of our family. We are invested in them and their welfare. It is strange for me to say that as I have never been this way in another show, ever. But with this cast I am; I care.
Through the years, we have seen Tony nearly die in episode 45 "SWAK" in which he arrogantly opens an envelope and blows, resulting in a white powdery substance erupting in his face. This substance infects him and with Kate pretending to be ill as well they remain in quarantine until he begins to recover. This was a moving episode to me, one that shows just how fragile life is. But it was nowhere near the episode which followed and resulted in Kate's death. Tony and Kate were friends and who knows, maybe there was a little spark there which was blown out too soon.
But the real spark came later in Ziva David. She was every bit Tony's equal: strong, fiery, passionate, hard-headed. In her Tony found what many people think was a soul mate. However, in episode 236 "Past, Present and Future" Ziva has left NCIS and Tony tracks her down. In this moving episode we finally see Tony, the real Tony. Not the wisecracking smart-aleck know-it-all we came to love but an introspective man who realizes what he loves and wants is right before him. They part, and we are left to wonder if they will ever get together.
So, what plot line will be used to allow Michael Weatherly to leave the show? One possibility that keeps being raised is that he leaves NCIS in search of something missing in his life. That something is Ziva. As we progress through this final season of Tony we are coming to see that he is not as happy and go lucky as we have believed. Could he be having doubts as to what he is supposed to do with his life? Has he finally tired of the constant struggle as an agent? In the episode "Charade" which aired April 5th, there appear to be multiple "Very Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo's" who are involved in a blackmail scheme. He listens to the men hired to play him and realizes he basically has no life outside of NCIS. His bachelor days have resulted in his being set up for this blackmail scheme and as one tells him, his life is boring.
It is this that I believe will lead him to leave NCIS and search out Ziva. It is also possible Ziva is not his target but with his realization of an empty home, heart and life he will seek out the one thing or person that truly lit a fire in his heart.
Of course, there is another possibility: his career. He might decide he needs to make a change in his professional life and begin a new challenge. I can see him as a number of things ranging from a leader on an NCIS team in a far off locale, say Spain or Italy. I can also see him as a wisecracking gumshoe private detective, hanging a sign out in some beach paradise and selecting only fun filled challenges. But I think this would not fulfill what he truly desires and that is a home and a family. He has changed over these past thirteen years, and the time has come to move forward with his life. And the best way to do that is to find his lost love.
Of course, NCIS has made it seem normal for a person leaving the show to die. Painful though that is for the viewers we need to be prepared for this eventuality. Kate (Sasha Alexander Seasons 1 and 2) died in a horrific manner; Jenny (Lauren Holly Seasons 3 - 5) died as well in a gunfight. Former NCIS Agent and Gibbs' teacher/friend Mike Franks (Muse Watson) died in the line of duty (sort of) in Season 8) by being stabbed in the chest by a bad guy. Director Vance's wife Jackie (played by Paula Newsome) died in a gun battle in her own home along with Ziva's father Eli, head of the MOSSAD (played by Micheal Nouri). So the possibility exists that Tony may well die in order for Micheal to leave the show. Distasteful yes; unwanted definitely. But it still may happen.
We will have to wait and see. Only a few more weeks to go.
Goodbye, Micheal (AKA Very Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo)
And so, we are forced to say goodbye to one of the best characters on television, one who has made a mark on millions of lives as he entered our homes each week for thirteen years and more than 300 episodes. Micheal (Tony) you will be missed Sir. I wish you the best in whatever you do and look forward to seeing you in some other show or movie in the near future. If we don't, then enjoy your life; take care of it and make sure your wife and children remain the focus of that life. Farewell.
UPDATE MAY 10, 2016
After watching last week's episode in which Michelle Obama made her appearance, I saw something hidden inside the words spoken during the hour long next to the next to the last show, something which gave me great pause and not a little panic.
There is a mole inside NCIS, a deeply rooted mole that spans years and years back to when Alan Dale played NCIS Director Thomas Morrow in the early years of the show. And I began to wonder who it could be. Now we all know that Morrow recently made an appearance and was subsequently killed. So something from the past is haunting NCIS today, but what could it be?
Who has been there since the beginning? Well, Gibbs of course; Abbie and Ducky too; Caitlin Todd is gone, killed by Ari. McGee has been around for a while beginning in Season 1 as has Jimmy Palmer but I can't see....
No way! No! They would NOT do THIS!? Would they????
TONY!? A MOLE!? VERY SPECIAL AGENT ANTHONY DINOZZO A MOLE WHO IS KILLING PEOPLE??
Would they send Tony out like this? Oh I hope not!! But if they did it would be the biggest season ending episode since, since... Who Shot J.R. I guess!
Hopefully, they give us a happy send off for Tony aka Micheal Weatherly but with this being sweeps I can say that nothing should surprise me, and making Tony a 13 year mole inside the agency would be brilliant.
Tonight, we should find out. Heaven help us.