NCIS star claims to have 'overstayed his welcome' before exiting

The actor got honest ahead of his return to the franchise.

"Secrets" -- When a Navy captain is found dead with an unusual costume hidden under his uniform, NCIS uncovers a secret society of real-life super heroes and must track down the villain, on NCIS, Tuesday, Feb. 14 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. pictured left to right: Tom Lind, Michael Weatherly, Pauley Perrette, Allison McAtee and Shannon McClung Photo: Ron P. Jaffe/CBS ©2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.
"Secrets" -- When a Navy captain is found dead with an unusual costume hidden under his uniform, NCIS uncovers a secret society of real-life super heroes and must track down the villain, on NCIS, Tuesday, Feb. 14 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. pictured left to right: Tom Lind, Michael Weatherly, Pauley Perrette, Allison McAtee and Shannon McClung Photo: Ron P. Jaffe/CBS ©2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. /
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NCIS has really been digging into the vaults as of late. In addition to announcing two different spinoffs focusing on past stars, the show is going to be bringing back some familiar (and beloved) faces for its 1,000th episode.

Michael Weatherly is one of these beloved faces. He played Anthony DiNozzo for 13 seasons, and was one of the longest tenured-characters on the show by the time he left.

Weatherly thought he should've left earlier

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"Home for the Holidays"-- As Christmas approaches, Bull is amused when he meets a 9-year-old girl (Annabelle Wachtel) who wants to hire him to help her divorce her parents, but he's shocked when a judge appoints him her temporary guardian. Also, Marissa discovers disturbing information about her boyfriend, Kyle (Gary Wilmes), on BULL, Tuesday, Dec. 12 (9:00-10:00PM, ET/PT), on the CBS Television Network Pictured: Michael Weatherly as Dr. Jason Bull Photo: Jojo Whilden/CBS ©2017 CBS /

Fans were sad to see him go, but Weatherly told Entertainment Tonight that he actually felt he had stuck around for too long:

"I should have left years ago but I was having so much fun that I overstayed my welcome horribly like that guest that won’t leave and keeps digging into your fridge."

Weatherly's comments surprised some fans, but his insistence on staying due to the amount of fun he had with the rest of the cast made sense, given how good his relationship has remained with them in the intervening years.

Despite feeling as though he overstayed his welcome, the actor maintained that he was excited to see where the franchise went in the future, and said he would be open to returning as DiNozzo if all the right pieces fell into place.

Well, the pieces apparently fell into place. Weatherly returned as DiNozzo for the Ducky tribute episode, appearing in a single flashback sequence. It was a shock to fans (a pleasant one, of course), but the real treat came when it was announced that Weatherly would be co-leading his own NCIS spinoff.

Weatherly is returning for a new NCIS spinoff

Michael Weatherly
SAG-AFTRA Foundation Conversations: "Bull" / Jamie McCarthy/GettyImages

The spinoff, tentatively titled NCIS: Europe, will follow DiNozzo and Ziva (Cote de Pablo) as they find themselves on the run in another continent. Weatherly and Pablo issued a statement to Deadline following the spinoff announcement, where they voiced their eagerness to continue their characters' stories:

"The world of Tony and Ziva promises to be an action-packed roller coaster fueled by love, danger, tears and laughter. We also want to acknowledge and thank the fans."

While most of us may disagree with the belief that Weatherly was on NCIS for too long, we're happy and relieved to know that he's eager to rejoin the franchise and take into new and exciting directions!

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