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Cote de Pablo set to leave "NCIS"

The long speculated cast shake-up is finally here

Cote de Pablo stands as one of my favorite female actors on TV. Many people would agree with me that she is a huge part of why “NCIS” has lasted so long. As the show enters its 11th season this fall, de Pablo says good by to TV’s number one primetime show.

De Pablo plays Ziva David, a former Mossad operative, and has been a staple of the show since the end of season two. She was brought on as a regular cast member in season three after the departure of Sasha Alexander, who played Caitlin Todd. Many younger fans of the show probably can’t imagine it without Cote de Pablo.

A major cast shake-up has been speculated for several years. Even though “NCIS” is the most viewed show on TV, it is going into its eleventh year, a milestone that few primetime dramas ever meet. Many thought Michael Weatherly would be leaving to star in “NCIS: Los Angles” when the spin-off was announced in 2008. But CBS kept the magic going for another five years.

Cote de Pablo’s departure comes as a shock for many fans (myself included). Her contract with the show was up for renewal this year, but there didn’t appear to be a reason why it wouldn’t be renewed. Mark Harmon, who’s contract was also up, resigned earlier this year.

There’s no word yet as to why de Pablo is leaving the show. De Pablo’s statements seem to conflict with CBS’s statement.

“I’ve had eight great years with NCIS and Ziva David,” Cote de Pablo said. “I have huge respect and affection for Mark [Harmon], Gary [Glasberg], Michael [Weatherly], David [McCallum], Rocky [Carroll], Pauley [Perrette], Brian [Dietzen], Sean [Murray], all of the team and CBS. I look forward to finishing Ziva’s story.”

To me, it sounds like she doesn’t really want to leave. De Pablo’s statement fuels the suspicion that CBS did not offer her a new contract.

On the other hand, CBS puts the decision to leave squarely on de Pablo’s shoulders.

“We respect Cote’s decision, thank her for being an important part of the NCIS team and for eight terrific years playing Ziva David,” the statement said. “Cote and CBS share a great respect for the NCIS audience, and we look forward to working with her and the producers on appropriate closure in this chapter of Ziva’s story.”

Cote de Pablo will be returning to the show long enough to close out Ziva’s storyline. With the solving of her father’s murder, the only real thing to tie up is the romantic questions between Ziva and Agent Tony DiNozzo (Weatherly). But all we fans can really hope for is that Cote de Pablo won’t take the spark that makes “NCIS” so special with her when she leaves.

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