"NCIS": Will the Real Tony DiNozzo Please Stand Up

What is Going on with Our Favorite Special Agent

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"NCIS" is the number one scripted drama on television. Why? The writing, for the most part, is very well done. The actors on "NCIS" are second to none when it comes to talent, and the chemistry between the cast only adds to it. There is only one problem with "NCIS": consistency when it comes to writing some of the characters -- most notably Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo, portrayed by the brilliant Michael Weatherly.

From Season 1 of "NCIS" to Season 5, DiNozzo was written as a multidimensional character. One moment, Tony would be using his inquisitive nature to snoop around his co-worker's desk or listen in to private conversations in order to find out more about them, and the next moment he would be using that same inquisitive nature to find a break in the case the team was working on

Viewers of "NCIS" would shake their heads when Tony was being obnoxious to one of the team only to be touched by the empathy he seemed to have when they were in trouble or needed his help. We would marvel at how quickly Tony would go from playing Tetris on his phone or a video game on his computer to jumping up and following the rest of the team when Gibbs yelled, "Gear up!" Or how quickly Tony would go from sleeping or relaxing with his feet propped up on his desk into full special agent mode when Gibbs demanded information from him. Kate wondered how Tony came up with information when he seemed to not have worked all morning, and we wondered the same thing.

The man who worried about getting his designer suits and clothes dirty thought nothing about getting said clothes dirty when he was rescuing a Marine from a sewer prison. The man who had survived the plague, damaging his lungs, thought nothing about this when he dove into a cold river in order to save Gibbs and Maddie. The man who made a big deal about getting a scratch took a beating without saying a word in order to protect his partner, a Mossad assassin. The man who ordered McGee to do most of the work, so he did not have to, held the key McGee had been using to open a trunk and told him and Kate to run in order to save them from a bomb planted on the car, not thinking about himself. The man who worries about rats does not give a second thought to throwing himself in front of someone he does not even know in order to save their life.

"NCIS" fans thought that DiNozzo was self-confident to the point of being vain, yet we viewers soon learned that Tony was actually a very insecure person who needed Gibbs to reinforce the fact that he was doing a good job. We thought DiNozzo could not be serious about anything yet we soon found out that a lot of his humor was there in order to cover up how he really felt when things got out of control. Yes, DiNozzo was definitely a mystery. Just like an onion, if you peeled one layer of DiNozzo away, another layer would appear. He was funny, charming, obnoxious, loyal, nosy, smart, and a very capable senior field agent. That is what made Tony a fan favorite.

Then Season 6 came along and all of a sudden, fans of DiNozzo were left scratching their heads. Why was Tony acting so silly? Was Tony acting this way because of all that had happened to him in the past few seasons? Were the "NCIS" writers leading up to a point where we would find that DiNozzo had lost his way because he lost Jeanne Benoit and Paula Cassidy and felt guilty over the death of NCIS Director Jenny Sheppard? We waited to see what the "NCIS" writers would pen in order to explain Tony's change in behavior only to see that they either had no clue themselves or they did not feel we needed an explanation. Despite the outcries of the majority of "NCIS" fans, the writers continued this pattern into Season 7.

Season 8 of "NCIS" started out, as it had in Season 7, with our old Tony, but now fans of DiNozzo are once again left wondering if we will have to sit through another season of this new Tony. We are really hoping that is not the case. Most of the "NCIS" fans do not like the "new" Tony. We want the DiNozzo who was sarcastic and funny but not an idiot. No more wearing gas masks and holding up signs saying, "Hi! I'm Tony" or walking into the bullpen dressed as John Travolta from "Saturday Night Fever," to be humiliated by his co-workers not because he is going to a Halloween party with his latest girlfriend but because he is going to her house for sexual role playing.

We want the DiNozzo who is an intelligent investigator -- one who notices things the others may not or who can get information out of suspects in interrogation simply by tricking them into revealing things before they even realize they are doing it, not the DiNozzo who bumbles through an entire episode without making one bit of difference in the investigation.

We want the DiNozzo who is capable of defending himself, not one who has to be rescued by his partner, Ziva David, at every turn. Are we to believe that the Tony we watched do all those things mentioned above suddenly turns into someone who gets pushed down by a woman and has to have Ziva step in and take her down? One who walks around a park knowing that a bomb is there and chooses to stand around and do nothing in order for Ziva to rush over and knock him down, just so we can have a Tiva moment? Not believable and very irritating to those "NCIS" fans who are not particularly fond of Tiva in the first place.

Are the "NCIS" fans who feel this way asking for a "Superman" Tony? Absolutely not. That would be as irritating as thinking that someone who acts like the new Tony is actually the senior field agent on the Major Case Response Team of NCIS that is led by none other than Leroy Jethro Gibbs. All the team members look out for each other and there have been many times that they have saved one another. That is great. Setting up an unbelievable situation as mentioned above is not. Balance.

Do we want Tony to do all the teasing and pulling pranks on the others while they sit there and take it? No way! Some of the best moments between McGee and Tony have occurred in the past few seasons, since McGee has started to grow up and become more confident in his role as junior agent. However, Tony does not have to be penned as an idiot in order for us to see that McGee has grown up or that he can take his part. McGee making Tony's computer keys "bark" or watching McGee torment Tony with a Barry Smiles doll makes us laugh just as Tony super-gluing McGee's fingers to the keyboard made us laugh. Turn about is fair play. If Tony dishes it out, he should be able to take it -- as should the fans. If we laugh at Tony tormenting the others, then we should laugh when they torment him. Just keep the balance and do not go overboard.

Each character has to go through their ups and down. We know that each episode will put one or two of the characters to the forefront more than the others. We know that each team member would put their life on the line for their team members or the public. We know that they like to tease or pull pranks on each other. We know that each character brings their own special talents to the team. That is all to be expected and is what we "NCIS" fans fell in love with in the first place.

Having said that, most "NCIS" fans want balance when it comes to all the characters, especially Anthony DiNozzo. We want continuity. Change is to be expected, especially with characters like McGee, Palmer, and Ziva, who have joined the team and are finding their niches. We want to know that when we tune into "NCIS" every week, we are going to get Anthony DiNozzo, the capable, funny senior field agent just as we are going to get computer genius McGee. Not the "new" Tony.

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