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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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The more I think about it, I wonder if Eli didn't set this up himself for some reason in his millions of angles mindset. Maybe he would rather be killed for a purpose than be forced to retire and set aside. I think it got out of hand by killing Vance's wife and potentially, everyone else in the house. I do feel for Ziva and the high mortality count surrounding her constantly. Tony makes a better passionate and committed friend than a lover, IMO. Hope the new assistant director and Gibbs don't have to go through the whole mano-et-mano thing to get along.

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Glad to see a shakeup in characters....it's generally what's needed when a show has been this successful, this long. Surprisingly, I think the writers handled the character impacts very well...you can see the seeds planted for a more multi-dimensional Vance(instead of dyspeptic bureaucrat)as well as the opportunity to give more depth to Ziva and(BIG maybe here)a more mature Tony. Don't leave McGee out of the growth equation, tho'....he's more than ready to be accepted as a full-fledged agent--and it's about damned time. Let Gibbs do what he does so well and stay out of his way. I suspect he will also be looking for vengeance but with a much lower(read that devious)profile.

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I could see her leaving NCIS and starting a family with someone

NCIS Season 10 Episode 12 Quotes

Bodnar: And whose grandfather would you be?
Ducky: Well that depends. Who's your grandmother?

You know this whole ordeal has made me realize something that I didn't expect. It's helped me better understand your choices. I always thought I had a sense of how you felt at the time, Gibbs. Now I realize I wasn't close. I never wanted that kind of justice before, but since the other night....hell, that's all I think about. Was it worth it, Gibbs? It had to be some relief.

Vance