"NCIS" fans have been devastated since actress Cote de Pablo announced that she would be leaving the show after playing Ziva for so many years. CBS reportedly offered the actress much more money to stay on board, but the actress ultimately decided to leave. "I really want to clarify: We offered Cote de Pablo a lot of money -- and then we offered her even more money," said CBS Corp. president and CEO Les Moonves on Monday morning 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."
"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 regarding her departure. In an interview with TV Guide, the actress discloses, "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." As for her co-workers, actor Mark Harmon revealed in an interview that the show has always managed to pick itself up and proceed with and without characters, and that it would do fine.
Yesterday night (Sept. 24), fans got a preview into Ziva's departure. She is shown to be spending time in Israel and someone is out to kill her, after unsuccessfully trying to kill the team (Gibbs et al.) first. Executive producer Gary Glasberg wrote an open letter to fans detailing Ziva's departure from the show. "I did not plan on the departure of Ziva David. We've been busy the last couple of months making this work and handling the situation," Glasberg writes. "Now I've finally 'come up for air' and I wanted to reach out to you, the greatest fan base in the universe and fill you in on what's coming, how we are feeling about all this, and assure you we're doing some really terrific work and feeling confident about moving on." He further adds that Ziva's departure was a surprise to everyone, including himself. "The amazing resolution you're going to see is pretty damn heart wrenching and we're incredibly proud of it," Glasberg said in the letter. "Prepare yourselves for a moment in television history. Images that will end up in the archives. I couldn't be happier with how my "NCIS" family stepped up and did some of the most emotional work we've ever done."
While Ziva's departure has been bad news, the door isn't closed for the future of "NCIS." The actress told TV Guide that since her character is still alive, the door is open for her comeback. "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!'" Is the actress foreshadowing that she may return? If you're skeptical, consider this: CBS ended up bringing back two actresses from "Criminal Minds" after they were gone from the show for an entire season. Given the popularity of Ziva, the possibility that Cote de Pablo would return to the show is not unlikely and more importantly, not unheard of for television. What do you think? Do you think the actress will return after a short break?