Spoiler alert! To find out how NCIS said goodbye to Michael Weatherly, click here.
It’s the end of the road for NCIS’ Michael Weatherly.
The 47-year-old star bids farewell on Tuesday to the longtime CBS procedural after 13 seasons and more than 300 episodes playing the charming goofball, NCIS Special Agent Tony DiNozzo. Though Weatherly acknowledged that the end was inevitable, jokingly telling ET’s Kevin Frazier earlier this month that he “should’ve left years ago,” his co-star and friend Sean Murray remains hopeful for the occasional cameo.
“[In] the world of NCIS, characters come and go -- even when they’re deceased sometimes,” Murray, who portrays NCIS Special Agent Timothy McGee, tells ETonline. “If Michael were to do the odd episode here or there, or drop in to the NCIS world for a special occasion, that’s something that could very well happen. He has talked about [that] and said that he would love to do it.”
One thing Murray isn’t looking forward to, however, is not seeing and working alongside his co-star each and every day.
“Michael and I, you can tell we’re very close,” Murray says. “From the beginning of the series, we bonded and formed a real relationship on and off screen.”
That, in turn, translated to the small screen and forged into something special.
“There is a dynamic between the two characters that built over the years -- [a] big brother, little brother relationship that included lots of hazing because Tony was always the fraternity brother eternal,” he adds. “Lots of love, lots of making fun of each other and just a neat dynamic between the two.”
But Murray’s friendship with Weatherly reaches well beyond NCIS and is one that will span a lifetime.
“Michael’s one of my best friends and I love him to death,” Murray says, before praising his pal. “Something a lot of people don’t know about Michael: He’s one of the most compassionate people I know. He cares about people, like really truly cares about humans. That’s a rare thing, especially in a world filled with self-centered people playing make-believe, which is what this business can be and is sometimes.”
“I love Michael. It’s not like I won’t see Michael off-screen … or probably on. Who knows? Years from now, they’ll write a script -- NCIS: Dynasty,” he adds with a laugh.
While Weatherly’s final day on set was emotional, Murray promises that fans of NCIS should be intrigued by the franchise’s next chapter. (He hints that by the end of the finale, loyal viewers will see characters “popping up that fans of the show are going to go wild for.”)
“We’re both the kind of people who don’t like to say goodbye … but I love Michael and I love Tony,” Murray says. “People are afraid of change, but change can also mean possibilities and new things to explore. We’ll see what happens!”
The NCIS season 13 finale airs Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.