The Ziva-saga continues after actress Cote de Pablo left the CBS hit procedural drama, leaving fans devastated. The character was not killed off on the show, and thus, the door remains open for the actress to return. "The greatest thing about this last episode is that Ziva doesn't die," said de Pablo to TVGuide of returning "NCIS." "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!'"
Deadline recently reported that de Pablo has signed on to join Chilean miner film, "The 33." The film will feature the actress as the wife of a miner and is based on real-life events in 2010 when Chilean miners were trapped in the Copiapo gold and copper mine for 69 days. Unfortunately, this suggests that the actress may not be returning to the show full-time any time in the near future.
That said, "NCIS" showrunner Gary Glasberg recently acknowledged to TVLine at the Television Critics Association press tour that it does seem unnatural that Tony and Ziva are not in touch. “A lot of people have approached me about the idea of not shutting the door entirely on [their staying in touch], and I’m not opposed to it,” said Glasberg to TVLine, “But it has to be done in a way where it feels organic to the storytelling and we’re not just throwing in lines about Ziva here and there.” He added, “If Tony’s in a personal relationship or there’s something significant happening for him and he wondered how she would respond, then maybe we can figure out a way to do it. It’s a valid issue to bring up.”
While fans want Ziva back, it seems that the cast response may be lukewarm. At a CBS International press junket last fall, actors Michael Weatherly and Pauley Perrette shared their thoughts on de Pablo's decision to leave. "At the end of the day, not only can you not make decisions for other people, but often you can't understand theirs ... I guess it was just a life decision," said Perrette diplomatically about de Pablo's departure. But it was Weatherly's words that hint at a potential return. "Cote's still figuring out the life part," said Weatherly of de Pablo's exit. "She just wanted a break."
"NCIS" actor Mark Harmon, on the other hand, went on "The Arsenio Hall" show before the current season began and spoke of the departure of Ziva David. The actor revealed that Cote de Pablo's exit is just one of the many changes the show has been through over the course of the past 11 years and stated that "it's up to this highly professional group to use that as a springboard to get better, to improve and to stay No. 1." Mark Harmon sounded optimistic about the show moving on despite Ziva's departure. "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."
More recently, David McCallum, who plays Ducky, told DigitalSpy that he felt “frustration and anger that someone should just walk out on us." The actor added: “I just don’t understand how a leading lady in a show that’s worldwide, who ostensibly wants to have a career as an actress, suddenly walks away from such a gem and just vanishes a couple of days before we start production.” The actor further goes on to cite that the writers had to rework the script last minute to accomodate the actress' exit.