Before Michael Weatherly departs NCIS later this season, his character, Tony DiNozzo, is going to be faced with a dilemma that is all too common…identity theft.
When someone pirates Tony’s identity, multiple “Phony Tonys” are blackmailing politicians and one turns up dead in a car. Blackmail, getting arrested and being “dead” probably are not the best way to keep a high-clearance government job. Neither is ending up with $20,000 without knowing why.
The “phony Tony’s” have forged his credentials and run up charges on his credit cards, but extorting $20K from a United States Senator begs the question about what information could someone have on the politician that is worth that kind of money.
Nothing like a houseful of Tonys to supply laughter and make the audience briefly forget the blues over Weatherly’s departure from NCIS.
In related news, it looks like the actor will not be leaving the CBS family. According to reports, Weatherly has been cast as the lead character of a CBS pilot, BULL, a drama based on the early career of real-life self-help celebrity, Dr. Phil McGraw.
McGraw, known to television audiences for his appearances on OPRAH and his own DR. PHIL syndicated series, is writing the pilot. Paul Attanasio (HOUSE) is writing the pilot with McGraw, and the storyline is inspired by McGraw’s early career as a legal defense consultant.
If the pilot gets picked up as a series, Weatherly will play “Dr. Bull,” who “heads a company that analyzes juries to help develop defense strategies — possesses a physicality, feral intelligence and bruising candor that make him magnetic to women,” according to the official character description. Not a stretch to see him in a role that demands those qualities.
Two actors are being considered to fill the void left by Weatherly’s departure. Sarah Clarke, who already has played government agents on 24 and COVERT AFFAIRS will be guesting as FBI Special Agent Tess Monroe later this season.
In an early casting breakdown, Monroe is described on TV Line as “quick-witted, sarcastic, shrewd” and “two-parts bulldog, one-part sweet kitten,” She is a multiple-divorcee who is an intelligent, driven agent with a big heart. Fiercely protective of her team and her values, Monroe sounds like a “tough broad” in the most complimentary use of the phase.
Also guest starring later this season is British actor, Duane Henry, as Clayton Reeves.
With the potential for the recurring role to turn into part of the regular cast next season, Reeves is described on TV Guide as “a young man who rose above his blue collar roots to become a successful MI-6 agent. Offbeat and fun with swagger to spare [Reeves has] a professional confidence that’s impossible to disregard.”
The description continues, “Reeves has burned some bridges in the international intelligence community, [but] he owns the choices he’s made and is determined to do what’s right. Behind his steely eyes and a strong, no-nonsense demeanor is a killer smile and a sense of humor to match.”
While those new characters have some of DiNozzo’s traits, producers will give both of them a chance to develop into their own distinct personalities, because that is what NCIS does best…it lets the characters live, breathe and grow into “people” that the audience loves to love.
NCIS also stars Mark Harmon, Pauley Perrette, Sean Murray, Rocky Carroll, Brian Dietzen, Emily Wickersham, and David McCallum.
Guest stars on tonight’s episode, “Charade,” are Virginia Williams, Matt McCoy, Jonathan Kells Phillips, Ben Giroux, Adam Mayfield, Sharon Brathwaite, Brad Lee Wind and Daniel Cummings. “Charade” was written by Brendan Fehily and directed by Edward Ornelas.