How Cote de Pablo’s NCIS Departure Will Affect Gibbs and His Team

Kimberly Ripley | Jul 19, 2013

Cote de Pablo NCIS

The Cote de Pablo NCIS departure is certain to make a huge difference on the hit CBS show, at least during the first few episodes after she leaves. In addition to likely affecting the lives of the cast and crew on the NCIS set, it will definitely cause big changes in the show’s story lines.

How Will Ziva David Be Written Out?

Though she only recently made her intentions known, de Pablo assured fans and producers that she intends to fulfill her obligation in her role as Ziva David. That, of course, leaves fans wondering exactly how Ziva will be written out of NCIS. Will she return to her native Israel? Will she leave NCIS for a less dangerous career? Or will she suffer the fate of former NCIS Special Agent Caitlin ‘Kate’ Todd (Sasha Alexander), who was shot and killed in the season two finale? While certainly no one wants to think of Ziva meeting Kate’s fate, it would cause the show’s ratings to soar. Of course, if the producers want to leave any kind of window open for a possible return, they won’t be able to kill Ziva off. This isn’t Days of Our Lives, after all. People don’t often come back from the dead on NCIS. Do please note the use of the word “often.”

Reaction to Her Departure

De Pablo issued a statement announcing her departure shortly before shooting began for Season 11 of NCIS, expressing her respect and affection for her costars and the show’s production staff. CBS reps also expressed their gratitude to de Pablo for her eight years of service to the series.

Fan reaction to the Cote de Pablo NCIS departure has been strong. Her character was generally a popular one, and her announcement has left fans in two minds. Some are concerned that it leaves the series open to a return by Jamie Lee Curtis, whose multi-episode arc as a love interest for Gibbs was polarizing. Other fans recognize that, after eight seasons, it might be time to freshen up the cast with a new woman who will bring a different dynamic to the team. Others still see it as a chance to explore the Gibbs, DiNozzo, McGee relationship more closely without a fourth core member.

What Does This Mean for Season 11?

With shooting for Season 11 about to get under way, it begs the question of whether or not Ziva and Tony (Michael Weatherly) will engage in some sort of romantic encounter? The show has often hinted at some sort of involvement, but the season 10 finale made it seem like things had cooled off a bit. It will be very interesting to see if Tony and Ziva do get together before her goodbye.

Whatever story lines had initially been planned for the new season now need to be altered to allow for Ziva’s exit. Fans don’t want a rushed or forced departure—the seeds will need to be planted early in the season and grow into a hopefully exciting and emotional finale.

Will There Be a Replacement?

There’s no replacing Ziva David. However, akin to replacing Kate, a new character far removed in personality from the former Mossad agent will likely find its way into this beloved ring of special agents. She or he (we can’t rule out her replacement being a man) will no doubt endure some serious ribbing and overt questioning at the hands and mouths of Gibbs, DiNozzo, McGee, Abby, Duckie, and Palmer.

Yes, the Cote de Pablo NCIS departure will leave its impact, but the show’s writers and producers have spent seasons making their vast cast of characters work. Following de Pablo’s goodbye, they’ll no doubt do it all over again.


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