'I Was Standing Behind You': NCIS’ Michael Weatherly Admitted An Accidental Goof Absolutely Made It Into Sasha Alexander’s Death Scene

Tony DiNozzo looking for shooter targeting him and Gibbs in NCIS Season 2 finale
(Image credit: CBS)

When NCIS began in September 2003, four of the five series regulars had already been introduced earlier in the year in the JAG episodes “Ice Queen” and “Meltdown.” The sole exception was Sasha Alexander’s Caitlin “Kate” Todd, who debuted in the pilot “Yankee White” (which was recently called back to in the NCIS franchise’s 1,000th episode) as a Secret Service agent who resigned from her position by the end of the story and was quickly recruited onto Leroy Jethro Gibbs’ team. Sadly, Kate was murdered by terrorist Ari Haswari in the Season 2 finale, and while this ranks as one of NCIS’ saddest moments, Michael Weatherly, who plays Anthony DiNozzo, admitted an accidental goof of his that made it into the death scene.

Weatherly and Ziva David actress Cote de Pablo recently launched the podcast Off Duty: An NCIS Rewatch ahead of the duo reuniting for NCIS: Tony & Ziva, the spinoff series that will stream exclusive to people with a Paramount+ subscription. The first podcast episode primarily revolved around the actors discussing their origins tied to the show, including de Pablo explaining why she initially thought Weatherly was trying to “sabotage” her audition. In the second episode, they were joined by Sasha Alexander, and during the conversation, Weatherly recounted the following about when they were filming when Kate was sniped by Ari:

When you got that shot to the head, I was standing behind you. And if you watch the scene in slow motion, this is a little Easter egg for the people at home, if you watch, just before the dot appears that they digitally put there, but there's a blood pack on the back of your head that [special effects coordinator] Larry Fuentes or whoever exploded, and blood goes all over my face. Larry was in front of me, so I flinch right before the blood comes, right before the dot. So I'm flinching before you get killed.

Naturally a film/TV actor’s job is to stay in character while the camera’s rolling on them, and if they end up messing up a take, the director can just call “Cut!” and they’ll start the scene over. In this case though, Michael Weatherly instinctively flinched in preparation of the blood bag being exploded, but it was a small enough reaction that it made it into the final version of the scene rather than reshot. See that goof for yourself:

It’s not something you can unsee once you’re aware of it, but I doubt many people notice Tony DiNozzo bracing for blood spatter that hasn’t come yet when they’re watching “Twilight” for the first time or even during several rewatches. In any case, it doesn’t detract from the shock of seeing Caitlin Todd killed just moments after she took a bullet to her bulletproof vest that was meant for Gibbs. Sasha Alexander guest starred for the two-part Season 3 premiere, “Kill Ari,” to play both Kate’s corpse and the character in ghost form that her team members talked to as they were struggling with her death. Alexander later vocally reprised Kate, albeit uncredited, in the Season 8 episode “A Man Walks Into a Bar.”

“Kill Ari” also introduced Ziva David as Ari’s half-brother, and after killing him in Gibbs’ basement before he could shoot Mark Harmon’s character, she took Kate’s place on the team. Cote de Pablo stayed on NCIS’ main cast through to Season 11’s second episode, and then she returned as a special guest star in the Season 16 finale and recurred in Season 17. Michael Weatherly played Tony DiNozzo as a series regular until the end of Season 13, then cameoed in Season 21’s tribute episode to David McCallum’s Ducky Mallard.

Now Weatherly and de Pablo’s characters will finally be seen onscreen together for the first time in over a decade thanks to NCIS: Tony & Ziva, which will follow the title protagonists going on the run across Europe after Tony’s security company is attacked. It hasn’t been announced yet when the spinoff will premiere, but filming begins later this summer. Meanwhile, NCIS returns for Season 22 this fall, and the 2024 TV schedule will also bring NCIS: Origins, the prequel following Leroy Jethro Gibbs in 1991.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.