We previously reported that the cast of "NCIS" will be changing as Cote de Pablo, who plays former Israeli Mossad agent Ziva David, will be leaving the show this fall. Cote de Pablo has been on the show for eight of its ten seasons.
"I've had eight great years with NCIS and Ziva David. I have huge respect and affection for Mark, Gary, Michael, David (McCallum), Rocky (Carroll), Pauley (Perrette), Brian (Dietzen), Sean (Murray), all of the team and CBS. I look forward to finishing Ziva's story," said Cote de Pablo in a statement.
While it was initially reported that she was leaving the show due to salary disputes, CBS Corp. president and CEO Les Moonves revealed that they offered Cote de Pablo a lot of money to get her to stay.
"I really want to clarify: We offered Cote de Pablo a lot of money -- and then we offered her even more money," said Les Moonves at the Television Critics Assoc. summer press tour in Beverly Hills. "We really didn't want to lose her, we love her. We think she's terrific. We obviously were in discussions... and ultimately she decided she didn't want to do the show. It was her decision. We don't like losing anybody. We did everything humanly possible [and] exhausted every opportunity, and she just decided she didn't want to do the show."
"It was purely her decision," he added. "'NCIS' was the highest-rated show on television last year. We don't like losing anybody, but we did everything humanly possible. We feel like we exhausted every opportunity, and she just decided she didn't want to do the show."
The news of Cote de Pablo's departure left fans wondering how exactly the network planned to make the character exit. While many fans are speculating that Cote de Pablo will either be killed off or her character will be seen returning to Israel for nostalgic reasons, a recent interview with the cast members suggest that her character will finally engage in a romantic relationship with Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly) and possibly leave the show to pursue that relation, as fraternizing is prohibited.
"Even if you're a casual viewer of the NCIS, even if you've only seen one marathon on USA, this season premiere and the first couple episodes you're going to want to check out," Michael Weatherly told E! News. "Even if you hate Tiva [Tony + Ziva], even if you love the Tiva, if you're ambivalent, it's like a big Christmas stocking on Christmas morning."