NCIS has been no stranger to significant cast turnover in its long history, with many previously wondering if the show would be able to stand on its own. In a single season, Sloane, Bishop and Gibbs left the successful police procedural, which required the addition of several new faces to the cast.
This was a particularly tumultuous time but, with NCIS now in its 20th season, it has survived major shakeups before. The death of Special Agent Todd and the departure of Tony DiNozzo were two key changes to the cast of characters. However, the most shocking change in the cast came when Ziva de Cote de Pablo left the show. Details about why the character was dropped have never been fully confirmed, but de Pablo’s quotes and lack of production confirmation have led to conflicting rumors.
Who was Cote de Pablo’s special agent, Ziva David, on NCIS?
Ziva first appeared in the season 3 premiere episode as an Israeli Mossad agent. It was introduced at a tumultuous time on the show, because Kate had just been killed by terrorist Ari Haswari in the Season 2 finale. Things were a little awkward because Ziva turned out to be Ari’s half-sister, but Ziva didn’t take long. to declare their allegiance. To save Gibbs’ life, she shot and killed Ari in Gibbs’ basement.
After that, Ziva became the liaison officer between Eli David, her father and Mossad director, and NCIS director Jenny Shepard, serving in that position for four years, which totaled three seasons. Later, she returned to the Mossad but was captured in Somalia while she was on a mission and was eventually rescued by Gibbs, Tony and McGee. After that, she resigned from Mossad and became a probationary NCIS agent and a US citizen.
Ziva’s time on NCIS came to an end in season 11. She, Tony, and McGee resigned from NCIS to protect Gibbs from a political vendetta, but when the issue was resolved, Ziva decided not to rejoin the agency. Rather, she returned to Israel and was allegedly killed off-screen in season 13 during an attack on the farm of her father, Eli David. It was also revealed during that time that she and Tony had a daughter, named Tali. After hearing the news, Tony also decided to leave NCIS.
Why did Ziva David leave NCIS?
Known for her inability to understand American idioms, much to Tony’s amusement, and her general rudeness when it came to a fight, Ziva was a huge part of the show here and abroad. Thus, she hit the NCIS community hard when CBS announced that Ziva would be leaving the hit series. The details are still a bit murky after her departure.
In a 2013 interview with tv guide, Cote de Pablo indicated that he left for a personal matter: “As for my decision to leave, that is something personal, and I prefer to leave it that way.” However, in a 2016 Q&A on his departure, she told a different story, involving how her character would be treated in the future. She said, “They were going to send [Ziva] return to Israel and turn her into a sad and miserable woman. I said: ‘What do I leave for all the women who are watching and following the show?’ And it didn’t seem fair. So, I said, ‘Unless someone can really write something fantastic, I’m not going back.
Even with all of that, a fuller answer has never been given, though some cast members, including David McCallum, were markedly disappointed for his sudden decision to leave. Regardless, fans weren’t happy with the way Ziva was written off and clamored for a cameo for years. Then in season 17, he finally happened. Cote de Pablo reprized her role as Ziva for four episodes. During that stretch, it was revealed that Ziva had survived the bombing and gone deep undercover to find the perpetrators. With Gibbs’ help, he accomplished her goal, killed the woman who had been pursuing her, and was finally able to reunite with Tony and Tali offscreen, giving Ziva’s character a more fitting sendoff.
NCIS Season 20 airs on CBS on Mondays.