Why Cote De Pablo Left NCIS

ziva ncis

We are not too far away from finally getting back into action with the crew from NCIS, although things are going to look pretty different with all the casting shake-ups. Fans thought that the Season 13 finale might celebrate Michael Weatherly's exit as Tony DiNozzo by bringing back former cast member Cote de Pablo, but it didn't happen. (The opposite happened, really.) But considering what de Pablo holds as her reason for leaving the show in the first place, we shouldn't have been shocked.

Unfortunately, because of political things and the scripts not being good enough, I chose not to [stay]. I love this character. I worked eight years in crafting this character and loving her, so when I felt or I perceived the character was not being treated with the respect that she deserved, all the money in the world couldn't buy [me].

As disappointing as it is that we didn't get to ever touch base again with Agent Ziva after Cote de Pablo left the show in the early days of Season 11, it would have almost been more disappointed if she'd have gone against her own wishes by settling for a last-minute cameo. I have no inside knowledge of the matter, and thus can't say whether the actress was right or wrong in this scenario, I know how much it sucks to work at a place where respect is a rare luxury, and how much courage it would take to walk away from that kind of thing when it means missing out on big paydays.

Speaking earlier this year at an appearance at Babson College, Cote de Pablo also shared what NCIS was planning on doing with Ziva has the actress not voiced her yearning to leave. And it sounds like de Pablo was just destined for a future outside of the CBS drama.

They were going to send her back to Israel and make her an unfortunate, miserable woman. I said well what do I leave all the women who have watched and followed the show? I didn't think it was fair. And so I said, 'Until someone can really write something fantastic for her, I won't come back.'

And I guess everyone involved decided that there was nothing better to write for Ziva, and that there wouldn't ever be. But Cote de Pablo hasn't been wallowing or anything. She was in last year's dramatic biopic The 33, and while her most recent small screen project was set to be an interesting Syfy series, the network announced a couple of weeks ago that it was passing on the pilot. So now we wait to see what show will wisely try to attract de Pablo next.

NCIS is set to return to CBS for its admirable Season 14 on Tuesday, September 20, at 8:00 p.m. ET. To see when everything else is headed to TV later this year, check out our fall TV schedule.

Of course, Cote de Pablo isn't the only NCIS cast member to leave the show. In fact, much has been made about beloved fan favorite Michael Weatherly leaving the show, and many don't know the real reason behind his exit. You can read the full story here.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.