As “NCIS” prepares to say goodbye to Michael Weatherly, Zap2it is taking a look back at his finest moments and most important relationships.

While Agent DiNozzo has tangled, both romantically and platonically, with a number of women on the show, arguably the relationship that has had the most impact on him over the years is the one with his surrogate father, Agent Leroy Gibbs (Mark Harmon).

Gibbs and DiNozzo may not have the tenderness that DiNozzo has had with characters like Abby (Pauley Perrette), but it’s obvious that they care deeply about one another. Gibbs is always there with some fatherly advice, some tough love or even a sharp smack on the head — which DiNozzo would not tolerate from anyone else.

RELATED: TV Query: Why is Michael Weatherly leaving ‘NCIS’?

“I’ve always thought that the head slaps were a sign of affection,” DiNozzo admitted in the Season 8 episode “Dead Reflection.”

The importance of the Gibbs relationship became even more apparent after “Flesh and Blood,” the Season 7 episode that introduced DiNozzo’s father, Anthony DiNozzo Sr. (Robert Wagner). Not only was it revealed that daddy dearest has some business dealings with a Saudi royal family, but also that all Tony ever wanted to hear was that his father was proud of him. Tony Sr., however, was largely absent from Tony’s life, caring far more about his business dealings than his own son.

RELATED: Michael Weatherly staying at CBS after ‘NCIS’ departure

“Tony likes to hide behind the face of a clown, but he’s the best young agent I’ve ever worked with,” Gibbs says to Tony Sr., who still doesn’t care about the man his son has become.

But Gibbs cares, as he made sure to tell DiNozzo in “Bounce.” “Now you’re making it right, and me proud. You’ve been doing a helluva job, Anthony.”

Barring a reunion with Ziva (Cote de Pablo), what fans are surely most looking forward to in Weatherly’s final “NCIS” episode is DiNozzo’s goodbye with Gibbs. Their relationship will be missed.

Weatherly takes his leave in the Season 13 finale, titled “Family First,” airing Tuesday, May 17 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.

Posted by:Andrea Reiher

TV critic by way of law school, Andrea Reiher enjoys everything from highbrow drama to clever comedy to the best reality TV has to offer. Her TV heroes include CJ Cregg, Spencer Hastings, Diane Lockhart, Juliet O'Hara and Buffy Summers. TV words to live by: "I'm a slayer, ask me how."