It’s been less than 24 hours since NCIS said goodbye to Michael Weatherly (and Tony DiNozzo), and fans are still clamoring for answers.
Executive producer and showrunner Gary Glasberg revealed his thoughts on why certain developments had to happen in the season 13 finale, most notably the unexpected (off-screen) death of Tony’s love, Ziva David (Cote de Pablo).
“A loss like this would be devastating to the whole team, but this family of agents, first and foremost, wants to be there for Tony as he receives the heartbreaking news,” Glasberg explained in a series of tweets on Tuesday night.
“Everyone acknowledged we were making something special,” he added.
Glasberg noted that the scene after Tony receives the devastating news about Ziva’s death was an emotional one for Weatherly, calling it “a powder keg.”
“We could see it in his eyes from the moment he stepped on set,” the EP said. “He prepared for this scene differently than anything we’d seen before. We could see it in his emotional state, the way he looked at Ziva’s desk, and his body language.”
“Every member of the crew witnessed a shift that day in the Tony character. DiNozzo’s world had officially been rocked. Tony wants answers and he refuses to believe Ziva is dead. Who can blame him?” Glasberg continued, later adding, “It’s NCIS at its emotional best.”
The other big bombshell that had fans buzzing on Twitter was the reveal that Tony was the father to Ziva’s young daughter, Tali, and that she knew who he was. Glasberg admitted that he, the writers and Weatherly discussed the possibility of introducing a child for months.
“The real question is why didn’t Ziva tell him sooner? … Ziva always wanted Tony to live his life. You all know Ziva as a fiercely independent character. We truly believe she was planning to introduce him to his daughter when the time was right,” he said, adding later, “At the end of the day, look what she’s given him. A new sense of purpose. A new chapter. A new beginning.”
As for what’s coming next for the NCIS crew in season 14, Glasberg promises “some great stuff headed your way” though he vowed that Tony -- one of the show’s most beloved characters -- will never be replaced.
“He was and always will be a huge part of this show,” Glasberg said. “All we can do is move forward, evolve, and continue on this amazing journey for seasons to come.”
On Tuesday evening, Weatherly shared several sweet snaps of his reunion with de Pablo. “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.”
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, jokingly adding, "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.”
Weatherly will be back on CBS in a new fall series, Bull, which will air Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT after NCIS.
Watch the video below to relive Weatherly's final episode on NCIS.