WARNING: This post contains spoilers. Proceed with caution.
For thirteen years, NCIS has been a pillar of the basic cable line-up. Boasting the top notch stars Mark Harmon and David McCallum, millions of people tune in every week to see the wonderful on-screen chemistry between Leroy Jethro Gibbs, Timothy McGee, Abby Sciuto, and Very Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo. At least…that’s how it was until last week’s season finale bade farewell to Michael Weatherly’s character.
To say that NCIS has lost an iconic figure is an understatement. Aside from the episode “Homefront” in season 13, Weatherly had appeared in every episode of the show. Weatherly’s DiNozzo, known primarily for his encyclopedic knowledge of film and quick wit, said goodbye to the show and 18 million people who tuned in last Tuesday, and opened a new chapter in his life: that of a father.
To say that I was shocked at finding out that Ziva and Tony had slept together, never mind had a child, is putting it mildly. When Ziva left the show a few years earlier, I assumed the goodbye kiss shared on the tarmac when Tony left Israel was the first time these incredibly proud people had acknowledged their feelings. This bombshell piece of information that not only surprised, but was also incredibly touching. Between the revelation of Tony’s daughter and his emotional farewell to Gibbs and then to Abby, the show almost perfectly wrapped up the departure of NCIS‘s most animated character. Unfortunately, it was in his other partings that much was missing.
First, his goodbye to Director Vance was a respectful smile and handshake. Vance was his boss, so it should have remained professional; still, a few words would have been a nice touch. His goodbyes to Jimmy Palmer and Ellie Bishop were also appropriate, as they were not the strongest relationships, but relationships nonetheless. Sadly, the goodbyes Tony shared with Dr. Mallard and particularly McGee left a great deal unsaid.
A simple handshake to Ducky, after everything they went through together, is an incredibly underwhelming way to say goodbye. Tony had repeatedly made it clear how much he admired Ducky, and while a handshake shows respect, a few sentences to the man who had helped you through so many ordeals in life is even more appropriate. What really deflated the whole episode, however, was Tony’s passing of the torch to McGee. It doesn’t take a great investigative mind to see that Tony and McGee were best friends. This goodbye should have been more emotional than the one shared between Gibbs and Tony five minutes earlier. Instead, “I have five words for you: Very Special Agent Timothy McGee” is all Tony can think to say as parting words. It is incredibly out of place to see two great friends not even share an emotional farewell, especially given that this team of agents had always been more emotional than logical when it came to one other. It was incredibly disheartening to see that the episode chose such a poor way to end after its incredibly strong beginning and middle.
The final episode of season 13 was a melancholy one to say the least. Audiences across America shed tears as one of the most central figures of the series took that elevator ride for the last time. In spite of the ending not being what many would have hoped for, a closing shot of Gibbs telling his group to grab their gear–a reassurance to the millions of fans throughout America that, even without Anthony DiNozzo, everything will be OK–is certainly a strong second choice for an ending.