Tony DiNozzo’s Surprise Return To NCIS is More Important Than Gibbs & Better for the Future


Michael Weatherly suddenly returns as Tony DiNozzo in NCIS season 21, and his return represents more than just a Gibbs cameo.

Tony DiNozzo returns in NCIS season 21’s Ducky’s tribute episode, and Michael Weatherly’s comeback is bigger and better than Leroy Jethro Gibbs’. In light of David McCallum’s death in 2023, the police procedural prepares an emotional farewell to his beloved character, Dr. Mallard.

The actor is the last original NCIS character to appear in the series. He remained a core cast member until his death, though he only appeared on occasion – a concession reached by CBS to allow him more time with his family, particularly as he grew older.

Ducky has worked with every version of the NCIS team since its inception, so it only seems sense that he receives the tribute episode that he deserves.

While the current cast includes long-time characters like Timothy McGee and his protégé, Jimmy Palmer, there were some hopes that additional characters from that era of the show would return.

NCIS had a simple plan to bring Gibbs back for Ducky’s memorial episode. Instead of having Mark Harmon make a cameo appearance, the CBS police procedural hired Weatherly to play DiNozzo again.

Brian Dietzen, who plays Ducky’s on-screen protégé, also co-wrote NCIS season 21, episode 2, “The Stories We Leave Behind,” with Scott Williams.


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  1. Having Mike Weatherly return for Ducky’s funeral was perfect. It was better than Gibbs returning. The entire episode was an amazing tribute to David McCallum. It’s to bad Abby couldn’t have made an appearance as well. However, great job writing Brian “Jimmy Palmer”! Great job!!!

  2. I would have liked to have seen all the past agents return for Ducky’s memorial. That would have been a great tribute and reunion. They could have come for one maybe two episodes and the “returned to their daily lives”.

  3. I hope that Tony coming back means Ziva and Tali will follow. I hope they are not planning to separate them that will not go over with the fans !

    • I missed the show , I would love to have seen it, I love to watch the show every week, sad they all the couldn’t get together one more time for ducky. RIP DUCKY

  4. Unless Tony has grown up I do not want to see him back, I found him very childish and annoying. The same goes for Abbie. Gibbs is very welcome to come back anytime.

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