Will Tony Return to 'NCIS' as Part of Ziva's Season 17 Arc?

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It almost seems too much to ask. Now that beloved Cote de Pablo is back on NCIS — her formidable Mossad/NCIS vet Ziva David appears in the CBS hit's first two episodes and again later in the season — could Ziva's love interest and sparring partner, irreverent fellow agent Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly), return for a guest spot, too?

When Weatherly departed the procedural in 2016 (three years after de Pablo's exit), he told TV Guide Magazine he'd be willing to come back if the story needed him. He also revealed he'd started thinking about leaving when de Pablo said goodbye in 2013.

"The great dynamic, badinage, and flirting between the two characters and how they would swing from siblings to near lovers and back to buddies was gone," he explained. "I felt like I had stayed at the party too long."

Well, that party is still going strong and Weatherly has an open invitation to attend, at least from the show's fans! When we interviewed de Pablo and lead Mark Harmon, aka NCIS boss Leroy Jethro Gibbs, for the cover feature in our last issue, they noted that Ziva's storyline includes not just saving Gibbs' life but also protecting her and Tony's daughter, Tali.

See Ziva Reunite With McGee in 'NCIS' Episode 2 Sneak Peek (PHOTOS)See Also

See Ziva Reunite With McGee in 'NCIS' Episode 2 Sneak Peek (PHOTOS)

Plus, in Cote de Pablo's second episode of the season, she meets Bishop and Torres.

When asked whether Tony himself would resurface, the two were cryptic. "Maybe," Harmon said of the character, who was last seen after Ziva's presumed death. Tony then quit NCIS to take care of the toddler he didn’t know he'd fathered until Mossad agents brought her to him. Harmon and de Pablo also pointed out that Weatherly now stars on another CBS drama, Bull.

(Sonja Flemming/CBS)

NCIS showrunners Steven D. Binder and Frank Cardea gave us this statement on the subject: "Will Tony return? Will fans see an older Tali? Will Ziva have a happy ending? These are the questions we hear every day, from fans to friends to family, and we love it! It is a rarity to have fans this passionately invested in a series 17 seasons in, and we don't take that for granted. While we can't reveal the answers at this time, we can say these are the same questions we ask ourselves in the writers' room as we plot Ziva's return and future."

Mark Harmon & Cote de Pablo on Ziva's 'NCIS' Return, Tiva & the Threat to GibbsSee Also

Mark Harmon & Cote de Pablo on Ziva's 'NCIS' Return, Tiva & the Threat to Gibbs

Why did Ziva come back? Will she stay? The reunited co-stars talk on-set memories, a possible Tony appearance, and more.

Viewers are resoundingly hoping the answer includes the word "Tiva."

NCIS, Tuesdays, 8/7c, CBS