The Season 13 Finale of NCIS was just aired, and there wasn’t a dry eye anywhere. So, how did Anthony DiNozzo say goodbye? Did the writers finally give the fans what they wanted? Did Tony and Ziva finally get back together?
(Here is the final warning: if you have not seen the episode “Family First,” then stop, watch it and then please come back and read this. We don’t want to spoil the big surprise.)
So….for weeks, fans were going a bit crazy guessing the eventual fate of Anthony DiNozzo. Michael Weatherly decided to move on from NCIS so the countdown began. What frustrated DiNozzo fans is that the episodes leading up to the finale, there was very little Tony. In one episode, member s of the NCIS team discussed their rent and Tony mentioned that he owned this place. At the same time, there was suspicion of a rogue agent within the organization. Then Tony was not even in an episode-he was in London. Did this mean that they going to reveal that adorable Tony had been working for the bad guys all along? That could not be. All we ever wanted to see was Tony and Ziva finally getting back together!
Before the final episodes, Weatherly was on the interview circuit. He slyly revealed some clues as to how his character would leave the show. The most mysterious clue was that he teased that Ziva David, the love of Anthony DiNozzo’s life, was going to be prominent in the series finale, curiously entitled “Family First.”
“I think the audience will feel very strongly that she’s in the episode in a way that might be a little Shakespearean but it’s real, and I think it’s going to be a very exciting time for fans of that relationship. I mean, bring a box of whatever you need, bring a change of clothing. You might not be able to go to work the next day.”
Calling anything “Shakespearean” could mean one of two things: boisterous comedy or serious tragedy. What the heck was Weatherby hinting? While he seemed charming describing the expected reaction of Tony fans, there was a dark cloud lurking over his quote.
Cote de Pablo was understandably interviewed and insisted that she would not be in the finale. Many fans surmised that she was saying “no” in the same way Kit Harrington said that Jon Snow died on Game of Thrones, only to be resurrected. No one really believed her until the second to the last episode ended with an explosion at the Israeli farmhouse where Ziva lived. Despite no new scenes, Ziva wound up dominating the finale storyline and pulling at the heartstrings of fans once again.
We find out that Tony had her number all of this time, yet could not reach her. So, what did this mean? Was Tony in touch with her off screen? Was there any hope of Ziva surviving the blast? Could Tony still save Ziva?
The writers of the show did not lead us on any further. Although we see Tony glancing over at Ziva’s old desk and hallucinating that he saw her; that did not last long. Within five minutes of the start of finale, Ziva was confirmed dead.
But soon, we find out that someone was pulled out of the rubble, and Tony gets his second shock: he was a father. A little girl named Tali was presented to Tony as his child. Now Tony is caught in the midst of the swirling flashbacks and memories of Ziva and the things she said to him.
Soon, Tony is able to piece everything together to see how it affected his present life. Tali was the name of the sister that Ziva lost. Ziva’s last words to Tony may have hinted that he was to be a father.
While living in his head seemed satisfying, Tony, the confirmed bachelor and neat freak didn’t know what to do with a small child. Most importantly, Tony did not know if Tali understood who he was.
When DiNozzo senior, perfectly portrayed by the dapper Robert Wagner found a photo of Ziva and Tony, Tali points out her mother and says “mama” in Hebrew and then she sees Tony in the same photo and says “papa” in Hebrew. This was the missing piece. She knew who Tony was!
“Family First” is the perfect name for this episode, as Tony no longer puts himself first – now it is all about what is right for his daughter. He is headed to Paris, with Tali, to the city he and Ziva loved. This now means poignant goodbyes and more tissues. Michael Weatherly was perfect-not overly dramatic, but heartfelt and secure that he was doing the right thing.
Any fan of Weatherly has been craving for an episode that was this emotionally satisfying can understand why now is the right time for him to leave NCIS.
Does this mean that DiNozzo will never be on NCIS again? Who knows? What we do know is that Michael Weatherly will not be sitting around. Weatherly’s new show Bull will start on CBS this fall.
[Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images]