"NCIS" saw the departure of a pivotol character this season, as fans had to say goodbye to Cote de Pablo's character, Ziva. The actress left for personal reasons. "As far as my decision to leave, that's a personal thing, and I'd rather leave it at that ... The idea of leaving was not something I toyed around with for a long time. It was an overwhelmingly hard thing -- at times terrifying," said Cote de Pablo to TV Guide.
Since Ziva was not killed off, many have been speculating if and when the character will return to the show.
On her end, Cote de Pablo told TVGuide that the door for her return is always open since her character did not die. "The greatest thing about this last episode is that Ziva doesn't die," she said. "As long as a character doesn't die, the character can always come back. Not that it would actually matter, because we bring back characters from the dead all the time on 'NCIS!'" The actress brings a valid point, as the show has a penchant for bringing back characters that are seemingly dead. RELATED: Will Cote de Pablo Return To 'NCIS'? 4 Reasons Why Ziva Should Come Back!
That said, the network is also familiar with bringing characters back as well. CBS' other procedural criminal show, "Criminal Minds," saw two lead actresses leave for a season only to return. Even after actress Paget Brewster left the show for good, her character will be making a return for the show's 200th episode. Keeping this in mind, it's safe to bet that Ziva could return at any point along the way whether it be the season finale for just an episode or in a future season, on a more permanent status.
But even if the actress doesn't make a return, the show has precendence of evolving and adapting to accomodate major plot changes. In fact, actor Mark Harmon, who plays Gibbs, revealed on "The Arsenio Hall" show
that the show is resilient to change. "We've had a lot of changes," said Mark Harmon. "We've managed to get better with the changes both in front of the camera and behind the camera." Change or no change, ultimately a show's lifeline is determined by one simple factor: ratings. And since the departure of Ziva, the CBS drama has seen a drop in ratings, according to TVLine. The most recent episode saw 18.3 million total viewers with a 2.8 demo rating. While these stats are not bad, they are a 10 and 23 prcent drop from previous weeks.