Does This 'NCIS' Guest Star Mean We Are 1 Step Closer to the Return of Michael Weatherly's Tony DiNozzo?

Well, there is at least one DiNozzo returning to NCIS in season 17. Robert Wagner is set to reprise his role as Anthony DiNozzo Sr. in an upcoming episode of the hit crime procedural. NCIS producers recently opened up about Wagner’s return, which has also sparked some talk about Michael Weatherly making a guest appearance as well. Are we one step close to seeing Weatherly return as Tony DiNozzo in season 17 of NCIS?

Inside Wagner’s ‘NCIS’ guest appearance

In a new interview, NCISexecutive producers Frank Cardea and Steven D. Binder revealed that Wagner willbe appearing in an upcoming installment. They did not reveal which episode, butthey did say that Wagner’s return is very “unusual.”

“He is introduced on a personal nature and then gets involved inthe telling of the story of the case,” Cardea shared, while Binder added thatWagner’s cameo is “a very unusual departure for us.”

According to TVInsider, Wagner has appeared on the series for a total of 13 episodes. Fanslast saw him in season 16 during the installment titled “Bears and Cubs.” Wecan confirm that Wagner’s character has been talking to his son, which opensthe door for a potential appearance from Weatherly.

That said, it is unclear if he knows that Ziva (Cote de Pablo) is still alive. Hopefully, his upcoming appearance will shed more light on that front.

Weatherly is currently starring in his own series, Bull, and scheduling conflicts havereportedly played a part in why he has not returned to NCIS just yet.

What’s next for Ziva?

At the beginning of season 17 of NCIS, producers confirmed that Ziva would be appearing in a totalof four episodes this season. This included the first two episodes followed bya two-episode arc starting with the midseason finale.

Ahead of Ziva’s last appearance, fans were hopeful that she would finally reunite with Tony. After all, Gibbs (Mark Harmon) had taken out the person who pushed her into hiding, freeing her up to reunite with Tony and her daughter, Tali, in Paris.

NCIS returned onJanuary 7 with the episode, “In the Wind,” but fans did not get the Tony andZiva reunion they had been hoping for.

Instead, the team picked up the pieces following the events inthe mid-season finale. By the end of the episode, Ziva said goodbye to the teamand is not expected to return this season.

Producers have not confirmed that Ziva will come back in season18, though it does not make sense for the series to bring her back withoutgiving fans a reunion.

‘NCIS’ producers talk about Tony and Ziva reuniting

With a reunion seemingly off the table, fans are looking forwardto the next time Ziva pops up on the show. Until then, Cardea and Binder wererecently asked about the chances of seeing the characters reunite on the show.

NCIS producers explained how Tony has known about Ziva’strue fate for quite some time. But just because he knows that Ziva is stillalive does not mean that they have kept up their relationship.

In fact, Binder teased that Ziva and Tony have not talked to each other in a long time, mostly because she wanted to ensure that he and Tali remained safe. Although they did not get back together in season 17, Binder acknowledged that they know exactly what fans want to see.

“We were playing a game of Operation with this. On the onehand, we wanted to see a reunion and we think the audience wants to see areunion and if there has been a full-throated reunion in the past, that’s adisservice to the storytelling on some level. On the other hand, when you’re aco-parent, letting your co-parent believe you’re dead is a pretty rough pill toswallow,” Binder stated.

Cardea later added that it was going to take more than oneepisode of NCIS to get Ziva and Tony back together. This could explainwhy Weatherly has not returned yet. But it also offers hope that a reunion willhappen next season.

Who else is returning to ‘NCIS’?

Apart from Wagner, NCISis planning on bringing back a few old faces as the series heads towards theend of season 17.

This includes Don Lake reprising his role as Gibbs’ old friend, Phil.Fans might also see Joe Spano return as Jack Fornell, which makes senseconsidering everything Gibbs has experienced this season.

Even though fans did not get the reunion they wanted, there arestill plenty of things to look forward to in the upcoming episodes.

De Pablo has not commented on the possibility of her returning toNCIS in season 18.

New episodes of NCISair Tuesday nights on CBS.

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