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NCIS Exclusive: Gary Glasberg on Vance's Loss, Ziva's Revenge & Beyond

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Last week’s episode of NCIS, "Shabbat Shalom," felt like a huge cliffhanger you might see in a season opener or finale - exactly what Executive Producer Gary Glasberg wanted, he told TV Fanatic today.

With Ziva’s father Eli, dying along with Vance's wife, what can we expect in "Shiva," tomorrow's conclusion? Glasberg hopped on the phone with us to tell us that the thrills, twists and turns are not over yet.

Ziva, Vance, Gibbs

TV Fanatic: In general, talk to me about the conversations you and the writers have about killing off characters, even recurring ones.

Gary Glasberg: This is something actually that we’ve been talking about for some time. I came with this thought – really, that’s all it was – as far back as last spring. I approached Rocky Carroll (who plays Vance) about it and he was open to the idea. Really, this will take the Vance character and sort of open up his world and change his world significantly. Suddenly he’s a single parent, he’s a widower ... there’s a tremendous amount in his personal life that we have to be aware of and deal with.

It adds a whole other layer to his character [and] rather than do something a little more traditional which would be to do a move like this at the beginning of the year or the end of the year ... to do it right in the middle of the season would not only surprise people but energize the back half of the season, as well.

TVF: And talk about Ziva. Her father tried to reconnect, she pushes him away and now she has to deal with his death.

GG:  Cote [de Pablo], I thought, her performance last week was terrific and the episode that comes up tomorrow, she just does really great and beautiful stuff. It not only affects what she’s thinking internally but it affects her relationship with Gibbs, who takes on even more of a father figure role, it affects the Tony/Ziva relationship and it sets up this need to find out who killed Eli.

TVF: With Ziva and Tony, they could bond over their daddy issues but will we see their relationship go to a new level? Or does it change things between them?

GG: I think the relationship continues to evolve and this adds something new and different to their relationship, as well. You’ll see tomorrow that Tony is really there for her as a friend and a co-worker and they share some very intimate, personal moments and that gets established in tomorrow’s episode and actually will carry through the rest of the season, as well. Yeah, when people encounter big difficult moments like this hopefully their friends and family are going to be there to support them.

TVF: Last week, Eli told her "truth has many faces." Is that something we should think about as we watch this week’s episode?

GG: I think that’s a perceptive grab. It very much speaks to the idea of sometimes you put blinders on to who people are and what’s really happening and the truth and going with your gut and your heart. I think Ziva is constantly questioning why do these things happen and why do they happen to her? How does she fit into all this?

Ziva and Eli David

TVF: Ziva is out for revenge so that makes me wonder if she is going to be seeing clearly or does that revenge cloud her judgment?

GG: It definitely clouds judgment a little bit. She has our team on her side and everyone wants to understand exactly what happened and who is responsible but emotion can make us do crazy things and I think that not only does it affect how she’s thinking in this next episode but potentially can affect decisions that she makes coming up, as well.

TVF: Is it safe to assume that Eli’s friend/rival Kazmi is behind the shootings?

GG: I don’t know, Jim. I think you’re going to have to watch! [laughs] He is in this episode and he plays a key role in this episode but I hope, as we have been managing to do throughout the season, there are twists and turns and surprises in the ways that people are involved.

TVF: There were a lot of references in last week’s episode about old cases and the baby bump Ziva once wore in a case. Will she be thinking of her life as possibly a parent?

GG: Yeah, we get into that stuff a lot. Ziva wants to settle down, she wants a family. She comes from a rich family and I don’t think that’s something that I would say no to. It’s just a matter of when or how that fits into her life as an NCIS agent. If anything, an event like this, the loss of her father, is going to make her think about what she wants.

TVF: What’s Gibbs’ piece in tomorrow night’s episode?

GG: I think he’s taking care of everybody. He’s spearheading the search for Eli and Jackie’s killer. He’s being there for Ziva, he’s being strong for Ziva and he’s being a friend to Vance. As Vance starts to tackle this for himself, we also introduce Greg Germann, who plays the role of the NCIS Deputy Director and he brings a quirk and heart and really an interesting sort of perspective on all of this and Gibbs has to work with him, as well. It’s fun. I’m very happy with this episode.

NCIS airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on CBS.

Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of JimHalterman.com. Follow him on Twitter.

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@sadtonyfan Shabbat Shalom was brilliant and an example of the good stories that the writers of NCIS can accomplish. I'm sure that Shiva will be just as intriguing. However, since you are a Tony fan and I'm one too, I heard that we will get to meet Tony's Mom this season. In a recent video interview, MW discloses this fact. When asked who will be playing the part, he said that he couldn't release that information. Therefore, we do not know whether she will be alive or younger in a dream sequence. It is something good to look forward to on NCIS.

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Loved the episode...and can't wait to see the continuation!!! I am looking forward to seeing this impact Vance's life and Ziva's life.
I was so sad when Vance's wife Jackie died and Ziva's father Eli died, although I was more expecting Eli to die than Jackie. I am really looking forward to seeing Tony comforting Ziva!!! It sounds like they are going to have a really touching moment!!! I'm loving all the Tiva scenes this season and can't wait for it to progress throughout this season more.

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I find myself perturbed by the portrayal of men on tv as bachelors or widowers when in reality, most successful men are married. I don't see the appeal of it and it's now a cliche. Is this how writers think? That great men don't need families or relationships? All male leads on criminal minds are single, The NCIS agents are single and am sure later this season, Sam from NCIS LA will lose his wife. Are women so dispensable on tv and in real life?
Kudos to Shonda for having married leads and it works.

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@Janice: I hadn't noticed that before. NCIS does burn more women characters (series regulars and recurring) than they do men. Interesting...

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@JC I read somewhere I believe TV Guide where they are having a hard time getting the actor they want for Mcgee dad that they might push the storyline back to next season

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I hope Shiva allows both Ziva morn for he Abba and Vance his wife. I hope that Tony and Ziva have a strong friendship bound and that is all. I do not want McGee to be left out as he has been in the past. I also hope to see what was stated a few months back about meeting McGee's father the Admiral coem true in February, since nothing has been mentioned since that time.

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I was hoping that Vance is the one who killed ELI for bring this into his home. Really sad that they killed off the character of Jackie. Still not as upset as when the killed off the Franks character tho. Also my God NCIS why always killing the women of NCIS off==Kate Todd, Paula Cassidy, Jenny Shephard and now Jackie Vance. I think I am seeing a trend here LOL. No matter what NCIS still my favorite show

Gatorgal

GG: "It definitely clouds judgment a little bit. She has our team on her side and everyone wants to understand exactly what happened and who is responsible but emotion can make us do crazy things and I think that not only does it affect how she’s thinking in this next episode but potentially can affect decisions that she makes coming up, as well." I just don't want to see "Alcoholic Ziva", "Drug abuse Ziva, "Attempted Suicide Ziva, or "Pregnant after a one-night stand Ziva."

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Killing Jackie Vance was a really lousy idea. Eli David was an old man who courted danger all his life, raised his children to it. It’s sad Ziva’s father is dead, but there’s nothing unusual about losing a parent in your 30s. I don’t get how the emphasis is on Ziva, when Vance’s loss would be far more shocking and more shattering. Since season 4 of NCIS, we’ve seen how Gibbs’ losing his wife & daughter warped his life, his relationships, everything about him - is Vance going to be allowed to grieve so completely?
Gibbs lost his wife & daughter in one sudden act that he had nothing to do with and could not have stopped. Vance made a choice that led Jackie’s killers to their home.
Vance was the only one we saw at NCIS with a stable, happy home life (Palmer’s a young newlywed, can’t count yet). In two seasons, he’s been bombed with the Israelis, his old boss tried to kill him in his hospital bed, the brother in law he loved like a brother betrayed his trust, and Harper Dearing kidnapped him then turned his car into a deadly bomb at NCIS.
That’s an incredible amount of life-threatening stress in a very short time.
Then Vance vetoed Jackie’s plans for the evening, making her the victim of assassins. So now, Vance is very seriously wounded emotionally & physically.
How does he handle the guilt that he brought Eli home, knowing the man was always a target? His kids would reasonably be angry that dad’s job led to mom’s death – in their home. How does he handle two angry pre-teens and a demanding dangerous job? His brother in law was a young black male who lost his way after his parents died, is Vance going to be able to handle directing NCIS and tending his children?
I agree that Cote’s done a beautiful job with this storyline, but I can’t work up much feeling for Ziva. Vance’s whole world has been shattered. Ziva’s home in DC, her friends, the life she’s created are still there. Vance’s has been shattered to the core.

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I dread an entire half a season focused on Ziva angst. I'm so sad that the only time writers give Tony anything to do is when it is really about Ziva. You Better Watch Out was such a great episode, but now I see that the only reason they bothered to show us Tony's apartment after nine seasons, was to promote what was really important to them - spoiling a scene in the previews for Shiva showing Ziva in his bed. As a Tony fan, I'm so disappointed that he can't get any serious treatment unless Ziva has her share in it.