NCIS Boss on Cote de Pablo's Exit: "I Can't Replace Her"

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Yesterday at his Television Critics Association press tour panel, CBS President Leslie Moonves talked about Cote de Pablo’s exit from NCIS and how the network did all it could to keep her on board.

Soon afterward, meanwhile, I grabbed some one-on-one time with showrunner Gary Glasberg to talk specifics about the surprise departure.

Exactly how many episodes will the beloved de Pablo appear in? Will Tiva fans be satisfied? And what happens to the NCIS team after Ziva David leaves the show? Read on for all the answers...

Cote de Pablo as Ziva

TV Fanatic: You probably heard what Les said this morning about basically giving de Pablo a truck full of money to stay but she’s still leaving…
Gary Glasberg: That is absolutely true. I think I was quoted many times months ago saying that I was positive that this was going to work out and I really was. To get to the point where we were a few days before prep and to suddenly be thrown what happened, I had to gut everything and start all over again.

The storyline where we left Gibbs [in the season finale] still plays but basically the first two episodes are this interwoven storyline of the Gibbs story and now the Ziva story and the second episode she plays very prominently in and then that’s her last episode.

So I locked myself away and I came up with this storyline and I’m pleased with it. I think it will be satisfied for all the fans but the Tony-Ziva fans especially. Look, she’s a part of this group and a part of this family and team but everybody respects this decision and we’ve got to move on.

She’s in the first two [episodes] and then…I feel like there’s a mourning period that has to happen. I can’t just put somebody else in there. As I’ve said to many people, I can’t replace her, I can’t replace Ziva David but what I can do at some point I can find someone who fills a new void and something new that adds to the group.

I think we’re going to take a nice long break, basically, and let the team in the show as well as the cast adjust to what’s happened but eventually Vance is going to look at that desk and say ‘it’s empty and we have to fill it.’ And then we’ll find somebody.

Honestly, I think people are excited about it, I know the writers are. I think they’re excited about having something new to play and it opens up all kinds of doors. I think Michael Weatherly would say the same thing. He’s basically, in the second episode, he goes and finds her and they end up spending real time together. I genuinely wanted to deliver everything I wanted to the fans knowing that this is kind of it.

TVF: Is the door left open?
GG: I don’t want to specifically say what happens to her but I’ll tell you I think that people will be very satisfied where it’s left. And all the Tiva chemistry, I think it will all deliver. There are some lovely, fantastic scenes in that episode.

And then we’ll pick up Episode 3 with Gibbs saying to Tony, “We’ve got a job to do,” in his usual Gibbs way and then we’ll get back into it. But then there’s going to be this fun…I wanted to keep it entertaining for people and there’s going to be this fun rotation of people of women coming and going. Everyone from an older agent about to retire…this curmudgeonly woman who literally is three days away from retirement and just needs to burn some time up at a desk. We’ll play it lightly like that and eventually when people will least expect it something will happen and hopefully someone will walk in and that will be the one.

NCIS Season 11 premiere September 24th on CBS.

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




The track record for people leaving a hit TV show is not good. Bottom line her choice but a bit odd for someone in this business.


You are so right its just a job


I love you guest and NCIS observer.They have been running stories about your famous movie stars on our BBC and one of them talked about members of the public delighting in putting someone to the top and then tearing them down.Yes I am concerned for her and I wish her well. We saw her last year when we visited one of our favorite cities where I have two friends and my husband was spellbound.It was a total fluke and the fans were going crazy.


To all of those offering harsh criticisms against Cote-please stop. Unless she speaks out, all of the things you are saying are speculation at best. Why does everything have to be about money? Why does it have to be about her wanting to be a movie star? Maybe she just wants more personal time. Maybe someone in her family is ill. Maybe she wants to settle down and raise a family. Maybe she is tired of the paparazzi and being followed wherever she goes and she wants to get away from that. Maybe she just wants to spend more time with her friends and family. We do not know. Not everything has to do with the almighty dollar. Some people make decisions based on other issues. And really, she doesn't owe us anything. Remember, this is just a job. People leave jobs all the time. To say you want her career to suffer for it is cruel and unnecessary.


Thanks to Ziva for all the good years. I'm glad that Tiva will be climaxed.
I don't know this actress's name, but the agent that does the Lie Detector could move up for McGee. Another good agent selection could be Abigail Borin or put Tony closer to Abby (Tabby, just an idea from Fan Fiction).


As th son of marine I watch Just for that reasonbut show will suffer and the sempre fi mentalaty will not stand for the loss


I will really miss Ziva, when kate died I was so giddy I did not like her I only really started to watch it after she died. Now Ziva is kick a** and I know she is just one character I love the cast they are one big happy family. I wish she was not leaving but I can only hope its a good reason . PLEASE Ncis dont kill her off the show that will kill me, It would be awesome if she comes back just as a guest star and also dont bring EJ in as someone to replace Ziva because I never liked her. I can only hope that I can still enjoy the show ONLY if you dont kill her off....or season 11 will be the last Ncis dvd I buy :'(


Observer - No leaving is fine as I said - Leaving with two weeks notice causing only God know how much extra work for others is unprofessional and unethincal. I have seen it happen in other line of work (Engineering) and the person never works again - At least no tinthe same state.


So it sound like these whole revolving door of NCIS agent sound cool I would like to see Cassie Yates. maybe that female agent from season 2 when those female officers where disappering. This might be the BEST thing to happen to NCIS since the P2P storyline too bad we can't get EJ she and Michael Weatherly are friends in real life and even went to each other weddings.

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