NCIS has announced a new cast member for season 14 after Michael Weatherly exited the CBS show in the season 13 finale. The 70's actor Wilmer Valderrama is joining the cast as series regular in season 14.
Valderrama's character description seemingly hints at the fact that he will replace Weatherly's special agent Tony DiNozzo in the upcoming season. Valderrama will play an NCIS field agent returning from a deep cover assignment. His character is described as "once grounded NCIS field agent who accepted a deep cover assignment years ago and never resurfaced. Many agents don't know he's still on the job or that he's even alive. Now, he's back and his dedication to job and country has left him an unpredictable, charismatic loose cannon."
Executive producer Gary Glasberg released a statement about Valderrama's casting and said that the actor "will be able to flex his dramatic, physical, and comedic talents in this classic NCIS role."
"Fans are going to see him like they've never seen him before. This is going to be fun. We're thrilled he's coming aboard," Glasberg added.
This cast update comes after DiNozzo decided to quit Gibbs's team to raise his daughter, Tiva, in an emotional finale episode titled, Family First. Previously, Scottie Thompson, who played Jeanne Benoit in NCIS spoke to Mirror about Weatherly's exit and if the show can survive without Tony.
When asked if Weatherly's exit will affect the show's popularity, Thompson replied, "He is such a big part of it - I have no idea, I'll be curious to see how it goes forward. But you look at how many fans there are for the spin-offs, and how much people love those, and so whatever it is about the structure of this kind of show is really appealing to people."
Speaking about Tony's character, Thompson shared, "But it will be interesting because he is such a huge figure in the show, such an entertaining character that brings a lot of the comedy - so if they can bring another person in who has that sort of charisma that he had, I think it will help. But 13 years is a long time to be running, it'll be interesting to see what happens with this - I'll be sitting on the sidelines waiting and watching eagerly to see how it goes down."
The actress, however, added that the rest of the cast are all so amazing, and that "they're all going to continue rocking it.
NCIS season 14 is expected to return around the last week of September. The 13th season premiered on 22 September 2015, and season 12 premiered on 23 September, both falling on a Tuesday. If the show follows its Tuesday time schedule, the show could return for season 14 on 20 September 2016. Networks like Fox and The CW have already announced their fall premiere dates, and CBS is expected to announce the return dates for NCIS and other shows soon enough.