Michael Weatherly, <i>NCIS</i> Michael Weatherly, NCIS

NCIS star Michael Weatherly will pull double duty later this season as he makes his directorial debut.

"I like cameras and I like sets and the surgical nature of make believe that happens — the whole process," Weatherly tells TVGuide.com. "I love all aspects of production, and I have a great deal of respect for the whole craft. I'm really excited about directing; it's an extension of my curiosity about film and TV."

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Weatherly expects to go behind the camera for an episode filming in January. He says the crew may also document his directorial experience for a special feature on the forthcoming Season 8 DVD.Weatherly, who has made known his desire to direct for some time, says his curiosity about filmmaking began when he was a cast member on the ABC soap opera Loving

. "I think that was always fascinating to me," he says. "When I was on the soap opera, I'd sit in the editing booths when they'd tighten up the show to see how they did that and what the technical process was. I probably should've started getting into the technical side of it earlier."

In Focus: NCIS' Michael Weatherly is happy being the second banana

Although a CBS rep confirms that Weatherly will helm an upcoming episode, no other details about the episode were immediately available. But Weatherly — whose character, agent Tony DiNozzo, is known for his trademark sense of humor — promises the episode will stand out."I've got a lot of ideas about my version of NCIS," he says. "I can promise that it will be a little bit different. It's daunting to imagine that I am going to be running around in charge."And Weatherly, who likes to cut up as much as his character, says his co-stars are in for a ride. "Everyone is terrified," he jokes. "Sean Murray [McGee] is probably most terrified because I have got a lot of acting notes for him."

Michael Weatherly signs new contract on NCIS

Weatherly, 42, has starred on the hit CBS procedural for all eight seasons. He signed a multi-year contract extension earlier this year. NCIS airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on CBS.Are you excited to see Weatherly's directorial debut?