This Famous Line of Tony DiNozzo Was Not Pre-Written on The Show


Michael Weatherly exposes an unscripted Tony DiNozzo line from ‘NCIS’.

Despite the fact that he is currently starring as Dr. Jason Bull in his own CBS procedural, Michael Weatherly’s career-launching role was on NCIS.

Weatherly, who played Tony DiNozzo from 2003 until his departure from the series to pursue other chances in 2016, got close to the adolescent-minded investigator.

Special Agent DiNozzo was adept at his profession but not the most mature of the lot, always prepared with a slightly inappropriate joke. After playing the persona for so many seasons, the actor became at ease in his own skin.

As a result, it should come as no surprise that the hilarious man – both on and off the screen – frequently improvised speech, some of which made it into the final edit.

While inserting words that aren’t in the script is common practice for great performers, especially those who have spent years establishing the same persona, Tony DiNozzo’s most famous statement was unscripted.

Furthermore, the line occurred before Weatherly had fully integrated into the role.

‘NCIS’ Michael Weatherly on Tony’s reaction to Gibbs’ head slap

When it came to appropriate workplace behavior, Michael Weatherly’s DiNozzo grew accustomed to having his head slapped by Mark Harmon’s Agent Gibbs (very regularly, we may add).

Michael Weatherly, on the other hand, recalls one of his classic reactions to the situation – two lines that went on to become a character-defining statement. According to Weatherly:

“I recall the first time I said ‘Thank you’ after receiving a head slap. It was an unscripted, instinctual moment of hilarity that drew a chuckle in rehearsal, so it stayed. And then, while I was thinking about it, I thought, ‘You know what? That is absolutely correct!’ DiNozzo responds, ‘Thank you for telling me to get my head back in the game.’ In this sense, he requires Gibbs.”

While the statement may appear straightforward, it encompasses the Gibbs-DiNozzo dynamic, which is why it “stayed in.” Without Gibbs, DiNozzo would lose sight of the objective at hand, as Weatherly explains.

As a result, while he didn’t enjoy being slapped, he appreciated the underlying objective. DiNozzo trusted Gibbs because Gibbs trusted DiNozzo to control his silliness.

Michael Weatherly discusses his friendship with Mark Harmon as well as the Gibbs-DiNozzo dynamic.

On NCIS, Agent Gibbs and Agent DiNozzo had a mentor-mentee relationship for thirteen seasons. Weatherly quit the series when playing number two no longer suited DiNozzo, passing the baton to Sean Murray’s McGee. No one, however, will ever forget Gibbs and Tony’s unique bond.


Weatherly was questioned in an interview with TV Guide, “Every possible twosome on the show carries a certain intrigue, but perhaps none more so than the mentor-mentee dynamic between Gibbs and DiNozzo.” “Are you in agreement?” According to Weatherly:

“It’s the reason I come to work. Given Mark’s real-life past [as a star UCLA quarterback], the greatest gift of “Baltimore” was the opportunity to tackle him. Then, as I was about to cuff him, he hit me in the face! Nonetheless, it was not confrontational. I suppose both of those characters are only children, and Gibbs is lonely. He’s a sharpshooter. He’s someone who exists in his own universe. And Tony has something similar. They line up a little bit, while being crazily, photonegatively different – you’d think.”

Though they appear to be quite different at first glance, Weatherly contends that DiNozzo and Gibbs have more in common than meets the eye: both exist as characters in their “own world,” which served as the foundation for their relationship – a relationship that evolved with time, patience, and growing appreciation for one another’s abilities.

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