With all the recent turnover with the NCIS cast, it’s worth wondering if the show will be able to keep up. Within a single season, Sloane, Bishop, and Gibbs dropped the successful police procedural, necessitating the addition of several new faces to the cast.
This makes for a strange moment of transition, but the series has survived big changes before. The death of Special Agent Todd and the departure of Tony DiNozzo were two key changes to the cast of characters. However, the most shocking change in the cast came when Cote de Pablo’s Ziva left NCIS. Details about his departure were never fully confirmed, but here’s what we do know.
Ziva first appeared in the season 3 premiere episode as an Israeli Mossad agent. She was introduced at a tumultuous moment in the show, because Kate had just been killed by terrorist Ari Haswari in the season 2 finale. Things were a little awkward because it turned out that Ziva was Ari’s half-sister, but Ziva didn’t take long. to declare their allegiance. To save Gibbs’s life, she shot and killed Ari in Gibbs’s basement.
Ziva’s time on NCIS came to an end in season 11. She, Tony, and McGee resigned from NCIS to protect Gibbs from a political vendetta, but when the issue was resolved, Ziva decided not to rejoin the agency. Rather, she returned to Israel and was allegedly killed off-screen in season 13 during an attack on the farm of her father, Eli David. It was also revealed during that time that she and Tony had a daughter, named Tali. After hearing the news, Tony also decided to leave NCIS.
Ziva was a big part of the show. Thus, she hit the NCIS community hard when CBS announced that Ziva would be leaving the hit series. The details are still a bit murky after her departure. In 2013, Cote de Pablo accused that she left because of a personal problem, but then spoke about some changes that the production had weighing on the character.
“It was something personal, and I prefer to leave it that way. It didn’t seem fair to me how Ziva was going to be treated in the drama.”
Even with all of that, a fuller answer has never been given, although some cast members, including David McCallum, were very disappointed by her sudden decision to walk away from her. Regardless, fans weren’t happy with the way Ziva was written off and clamored for a cameo for years. Then in season 17, she finally happened. Cote de Pablo reprized her role as Ziva from her for four episodes, giving the character arc a more fitting sendoff.