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NCIS: Is Michael Weatherly Returning? The Actor Teases More Tony & Ziva

Special Agents Anthony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly) and Ziva David (Cote de Pablo) might be returning to "NCIS," the ongoing naval-themed police procedural on CBS. Weatherly, who departed the series in 2016 after featuring in its main cast for 13 consecutive seasons, teased the possibility in early 2023. On X, formerly Twitter, he responded to a user requesting that he come back by saying, "Stay tuned... for this might be an interesting year for such 'moments!'" Fast forward almost seven months, and Weatherly posts again, this time sharing a picture of himself and a friend recreating the famous head slap that his character so often suffered from Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon).

Cote de Pablo, who departed the series in 2013 after featuring in its main, recurring, and guest casts for ten seasons, has yet to acknowledge Weatherly's recent comments. She returned briefly for Seasons 16 and 17 before departing again, so there's already a precedent for David cycling in and out of the story. As for Weatherly, he never looked back after exiting "NCIS." Is he teasing fans to drum up hype for a predetermined triumphant return, or is he teasing fans to drum up hype to convince the studio executives to permit a triumphant return?

Tony and Ziva's return would transform NCIS Season 21 into a nostalgic fever dream

"NCIS" Season 20 aired its finale in May of this year. While CBS already announced that the series would be renewed for Season 21, the studio has yet to say much more than "We're not done yet." Talents like Sean Murray, Brian Dietzan, David McCallum, and Rocky Carroll are set to return to their longstanding roles. Wilmer Valderrama, Katrina Law, Gary Cole, and Diona Reasonover are set to return to their comparatively new roles, as well. Nowhere are Michael Weatherly or Cote de Pablo officially connected to Season 21, although it's possible that the pair is being saved for a later reveal.

For those who might not recall, Tony and Ziva enjoyed a strange relationship. Although they hated each other at first, the Special Agents grew closer over the years of working together. Eventually, they dated — briefly — and that lead to the birth of little Tali David-DiNozzo.

Tony and Ziva's relationship has been a driving force behind fan retention for years now, somehow holding strong long after the characters departed at their respective times. In fact, many fans don't think "NCIS" is really "NCIS" without Tony, let alone Ziva. If Season 21, whenever it releases, really does bring them back, then it's not unlikely that "NCIS" will receive a hefty viewership boost. After all, nothing tops romantic nostalgia.