NCIS season 18: Why isn’t Robert Wagner returning in NCIS series 18?

NCIS series 18 has been very different from previous seasons, given how it had a late start date, featured time jumps back and forth in time and has seen more than one emotional farewell. But one face who hasn’t been in this series is actor Robert Wager who plays Tony Dinozzo Snr, the dad of original agent Tony Dinozzo (played by Michael Weatherly). Unfortunately, he won’t be appearing in the CBS drama for the foreseeable.

Tony left NCIS to look after daughter Tali, leaving his dangerous career to start a new lfie in Paris at the end of season 13.

Nevertheless, Wagner has continued to pop up from time to time, giving fans an update on Tony and Tali and just bringing a cheery attitude to episodes.

He hasn’t been seen since series 16 and fans had been expecting him to make a comeback after he failed to appear in season 17.

But this won’t be the case yet again as Wagner will not guest star in season 18 of NCIS.

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NCIS: Actor Robert Wagner plays Tony Dinozzo Snr. (Image: CBS)

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NCIS: Robert Wagner was last seen in NCIS in season 16. (Image: CBS)

While Wagner is still reportedly eager to show up on the CBS series, NCIS producers Frank Cardea and Steven Binder have made the purposeful decision to keep him away.

As the dangers of the pandemic still lurk on film sets, Cardea and Binder are not featuring Wagner for health and safety reasons.

Speaking to TV Line, Cardea said: “RJ [Robert Wagner] is always anxious to be on the show and we’re always anxious to have him.

“But with actors of that age, we’re just waiting to see where the COVID goes. RJ turned 90 in February.”

Co-producer Binder added: “And he would have to travel.”

Wagner was also reportedly diagnosed with early-stage dementia in 2019.

So NCIS’ creators are being even more cautious as there have been continuous warnings to safeguard the elderly and those with underlying health conditions during the pandemic.

Therefore, while restrictions are still in place as the coronavirus still affects people’s lives across the world, Wagner will not be showing up in NCIS.

Hopefully, this won’t be for too long though as the producers are eager to get him back on set.

Cardea said: “He’s the youngest 90-year-old I’ve ever met.

“When you talk to him on the phone, he sounds like he’s 30.

“He’s not quite ready to come back yet, but you could certainly see him in the latter part of the year.”

If NCIS is given a season 19, then perhaps Wagner will be back to film an episode or two.

NCIS is available to watch on CBS.