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Dear Very Special Actor, Michael Weatherly:
Jim Morrison of The Doors once sang, “This is the end, my only friend, the end. It hurts to set you free.”
While you are not the audience’s only friend, you certainly are a very special one. And it does hurt to set you free.
You and Very Special Agent, Tony DiNozzo, taught us so much.
You showed us that, even when we screw up, the people who love us would not forsake us. (And yes, most of us now follow Rule #9, even if we don’t need to use it.)
You showed us that it is okay to be afraid, and how to face those fears. Whether it is diving off of a dock to save someone you love from drowning, escaping dogs over car hoods and fences, or surveilling arms dealers outside a restaurant with only a guitar and a Jamaican accent to protect you, it is acceptable to be afraid and conquer your fears when the lives of those you care about are in danger.
I suspect that while Tony may have reservations about dogs and does not own one, Michael is a “dog person.” The shot of the German Shepard standing steadfastly at the coffin of his owner is a beautifully poignant visual that I shall never forget.
As Tony matured, he managed to find the good in his dad, even when Senior was making him crazy. He made it possible for many adults to relate with their elder family members by following his example and building new bonds.
He finally put to rest the WHEN HARRY MET SALLY cliché that men cannot have female friends. Despite his sex appeal and fabulous flirtation style, Bishop, Jenny, Caitlin and Abby were just friends. A lot of women have male friends and vice versa, and Tony made that perfectly understandable and acceptable.
As far as the other women in his life, Wendy, E.J., Zoe, Jeanne and Ziva (and I rate those of importance of painful loss), you showed us that it really is better to have loved and lost, rather than never to have loved at all. You knew that the greatest gift one person can give another is her freedom, and while it ripped you apart inside, you sacrificed your happiness for theirs.
It has been reported the Michael had not seen the scene of Ziva’s cabin exploding before seeing it on set. The pain and confusion on Michael’s face shows his deep ties to his character and his and Tony’s reactions were genuine and heartbreaking.
You are a wonderful mentor, an astute mentee and the best kind of friend. Your friendship and patience with McGee as he learned the ropes was one that everyone should be lucky enough to have.
Of course, there could be no better teacher than Leroy Jethro Gibbs. From every “yes, boss” to the last headslap, you took his wisdom to heart (as did we), and you grew up from a bright, intuitive young agent to a mature, savvy human being who makes us laugh, cry, learn and aspire to be better.
You are an athlete, a singer, a dancer, a director, a romantic, a husband, a dad, a sex symbol, a movie lover and an American James Bond. You can play a class clown, but you really are a class act. Like a fine wine, you have gotten better with age.
We still will to watch you on BULL, your new series on CBS in which you play a magnetic, compelling jury consultant. As in everything, you no doubt will excel at this new role and make the audiences love you, and on that, we wish you great success.
Whether Tony leaves with Ziva, to run his own team, or he and Senior become the first father/son “James Bond” dynamic duo, your departure will leave a hole in our hearts.
But, however the writers choose to exit you, know that you, Michael Weatherly, have made a difference to the audience. Among all of the things that you are, you forever will be “Very Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo.” (I really am going to miss writing that phrase.)
We wish you the best of luck, and thank you for 13 wonderful years.
The season finale of NCIS airs on May 17 at 8:00 p.m. Et/PT on CBS.