After more than 300 episodes, NCIS bid farewell to Michael Weatherly with a bittersweet goodbye -- but not before NCIS Special Agent Tony DiNozzo was hit with two life-changing events on Tuesday’s finale.
First, Tony lost his one true love, Ziva David, in a violent fire in Tel Aviv. (Sob!) Then, without having a moment to grieve her death, he discovered that Ziva had a secret baby named Tali (named after Ziva’s late sister), and he is the father. (What?!)
Now a single dad, Tony was faced with the biggest question of his storied career: Should he return to work with the NCIS crew and be satisfied with putting his young daughter in danger? At first, it seemed to be a simple answer: Yes, of course. But as time went on, Tony started to have doubts, especially after walking down memory lane.
“We had a connection, and obviously a very fond farewell,” Tony says of Ziva in a rare moment of vulnerability with his colleague Timothy McGee (Sean Murray). “I loved her Tim.”
The episode was filled with nostalgic moments for ‘shippers of the beloved couple, and though former NCIS star Cote de Pablo didn’t return to film any new scenes, the emotional resonance was there.
In one of the episode’s most touching moments, a black-and-white photo of the couple prompted Tali to identify him as her father, or “aba” in Hebrew, which just made the revelation even more sentimental.
At the end of the day, Tony’s decision not to return to work became a pretty simple one.
“All I wanted to do was take care of Tali. Everything that she had in her life was gone, except me. I’m it. I’m everything to that little girl now and I’ve never been anyone’s anything before,” Tony tells his boss Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon). “That’s it, I’m done now.”
After turning in his gun and badge, Tony said goodbye for the last time to Abby, Ducky, Vance, Bishop and McGee. And that was that!
Following the episode, Weatherly shared several sweet snaps on Twitter with de Pablo, with whom he reunited. "Thank you and I love you all- Cote is here with me now!" he captioned one pic.
Thank you and I love you all- Cote is here with me now! pic.twitter.com/RsmWInjMSl— Michael Weatherly (@M_Weatherly) May 18, 2016
Ahead of the finale, Weatherly sat down with ET's Kevin Frazier, saying Tony's farewell "is a very emotional episode but it's also very uplifting. If you remember how Tony DiNozzo got his job at NCIS, then that will be a good indication of how he leaves NCIS."
With NCIS now behind him, the 47-year-old actor knew his time on the popular series had neared its end.
"The character had to leave at some point," he explained. "I should've left years ago, but I was having so much fun I overstayed my welcome horribly -- like that guest who won't leave and keeps digging into your fridge."
What were your favorite moments from Weatherly's final episode of NCIS? Tell us on Twitter at @ETnow!
NCIS returns for season 14 this fall on CBS.