NCIS Post Mortem: How Two Sudden, 'Organic' Deaths Will Shake Up the Rest of Season 10

NCIS Season 10 SpoilersCBS’ NCIS blindsided fans with a double-whammy last week, capping an already tense hour with an abrupt machine-gun assault on the Vance home, where Eli and Ziva David were guests for dinner. When the dust settled, two lives were lost — Ziva’s father, and Vance’s wife Jackie. As Gibbs’ team readies to mourn the dead in this Tuesday’s “Shiva” (airing at 8/7c), showrunner Gary Glasberg shared a look at the devastating aftermath for two of NCIS’ finest.

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TVLINE | When did you first give Paula Newsome (who plays Jackie) and Michael Nouri (Eli) a heads-up on what you had planned?
You know, this is something that we’ve been talking about for a long time. I started to toy around with this idea back last spring. I pulled Rocky Carroll (Vance) aside and I told him what I was thinking, that strictly from the Vance perspective, I really wanted to do something that would open up his world a bit, because Vance’s family life has been very grounded and very positive.

TVLINE | Yeah, it’s always been a rock for him.
And there’s nothing wrong with that, but this is a huge change for him, to suddenly be a single dad, to be a widower, to carry the responsibility of his family and NCIS on his shoulders. It opened a lot of doors. And the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to do it. The same goes with Cote [de Pablo]. We talked about years of storylines with Eli David and where their relationship is, and how this would in theory change [Ziva]. Both Michael Nouri and Paula were of course upset by the direction that we chose, but they were total pros and they wanted to give it everything they could. I am really pleased with the way it came out.

TVLINE | You said you’ve been thinking about this for a while — but was it only until more recently that both deaths landed in the same episode?
Well, it was sort of the beginning of the season when we started to plot where this would fall. Chris Waild, who wrote the episode, and I talked about what we wanted to do, but part of it, too, is I’ve been intrigued by the idea of civilian loss happening during a professional situation. That’s real to me. We see it the news, and it’s awful how there are tragedies that come up, and in this instance Jackie Vance is very much a victim of something that she had no control over. So, it felt organic and natural to us to do what we did.

TVLINE | At first blush, is losing Jackie going to make Vance harder, or softer? Or wounded?
Absolutely wounded. And in some way, it sort of sticks to the thematic stuff that I was trying to do at the beginning of the season. You know we had this theme of sort of fallen heroes? Pulling the rug out from under Vance puts him in that category.

TVLINE | Our readers had been worried — ever since I reported on the casting of Greg Germann as the NCIS Deputy Director — what it might say about the story ahead for Vance.
In the real world these characters sort of back each other up and work together. I realized in talking to the real director of NCIS that the Deputy Director in the real world plays a big part, and we’ve actually never, in all of our 10 seasons, introduced the Deputy Director. So, I just thought it would be the right time.

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TVLINE | And what kind of an arc is Ziva on the cusp of?
Ziva clearly had her differences with her father, but he was still her father, and there’s a part of her that’s wounded and broken, and Tony is there for her. He is there for her as a friend and a co-worker, and he plays a big part in the episode that airs on Tuesday. That will continue all the way through the rest of the season.

TVLINE | Do Michael [Weatherly] and Cote get some meaty scenes on Tuesday?
They do. They have some really meaty scenes on Tuesday, and I will say that we end up back in Tony’s apartment and there is some really lovely, emotional stuff that happens between the two of them there.

TVLINE | Professionally, are there any longer-term ramifications for Ziva? Like, is she going to start reconsidering her choices, or…?
I don’t know about reconsidering choices, but Ziva certainly wants to get to the bottom of what happened here and who is responsible — and I will tell you that not all the answers will be there at the end of [the episode].

TVLINE | In rooting out who’s responsible, is she going to be like a dog with a bone?
Yes. And the one thing that I will say is in the beginning, you can have some very serious episodes like we have here. And then, just as in real life, people still see the lighter sides of things, and people have to laugh. So there will be moments that are lighter, there will be storylines that are lighter, but you continue to carry things with you and think about things. That will be the case here as well.

RELATED | NCIS‘ Cote de Pablo Talks About Exploring an ‘Interesting’ Ziva Twist

Want more scoop on NCIS, or for any other show? Email and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Thanks Matt! You’re a pro! Well worth the wait!

  2. Ebay4Ever says:

    Thanks Matt :) Ziva for the revenge.

  3. Thanks Matt for always giving us the NCIS scoop. You’re the best. :) I can’t wait for this episode. I also can’t wait to see what happens next with Vance and Ziva and also can’t wait to see Ziva at Tony’s apt. Sounds like some really wonderful and touching scenes coming tomorrow.

    • Nubie says:

      I agree, Luvtiva!! Thanks Matt – good scoop :) I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this storyline continue all the way into the season finale. This would also give both Vance & Ziva time to deal with the aftermath of what they’ve just gone through.

  4. SAM says:

    Could be the start of a very momentous storyline for Tony and Ziva, together and seperately. Likewise for Vance.

  5. kendall says:

    Thanks Matt, I can’t wait for this episode!!!!

  6. Stacey says:

    I guess this proves that NCIS and NCIS:LA live in different universes these days, because they do have a Deputy Director keeping a eye on Hetty and gang in LA. So how many Deputy’s can NCIS have? But still. I can’t wait to see tomorrow. And how this sets up Ziva and Vance for the rest of the season. I still can’t see how Vance can stay in this job long-term. He basically started the situation that got his wife killed. Bringing it into his home. And now he’s a single father. But I can’t wait to see how this changes Ziva and Tony. They have been so close since the bombing. This will only bring them closer!

  7. estefania says:

    totally agree guys, I am so excited for tomorrow, and I think that really great twist and storylines come up soon and I think a big cliffhanger for final of this season

  8. maggie says:

    Always enjoy your NCIS scoops. Sounds interesting. Can’t wait to see where this leads for both Ziva and Vance.

  9. sladewilson says:

    Thanks for the scoop, Matt!! Whoever the big villain will be, it will be Ziva’s “Ari” moment. The stuff with Vance will be interesting to see exactly how they play it but I have a feeling that Gibbs and Vance will become alot tighter now…

  10. skrable2 says:

    If I was disappointed in anything with the deaths episode, it’s that we saw Eli after the shooting, but never saw Jackie again. Just a shot of Vance getting up after obviously doing CPR. We got the emotional payoff with Eli, but it’s as though once the shooting happened, Jackie was out the door.

    I realize the Emergency Room scene was supposed to be Vance’s key moment. I just thought from the standpoint of losing a character, it seemed as though something was missing in never seeing her again

    • Sheila says:

      Maybe that helped to make her death more of a surprise?

    • Stacey says:

      True. But we’d seen more of Eli. From Season 4 on. And the shock was supposed to be in Vance’s words. So we didn’t need to see how bad Jackie was… We saw him tending to her. And than to hear his words to Gibbs. Now his friend in the widow club. And plus, we’ll see more of the fallout tomorrow.

    • Jaz says:

      Paula (Jackie Vance) is actually in Shiva, so im guessing Vance is going to maybe flash back to those scenes they skipped in Shabbat Shalom or maybe (my wishful thinking) flashback to when Jackie and Leon actually met?? Again thats just my thinking. I really hope that wasnt it from Jackie, it wouldnt feel right her dying and we didnt get to see anything.

      Other than that. OMG I can’t wait for the new ep Shiva!! Still flipping out over the Tiva scenes and just saw the preview. OMG!! This episode is going to be great. I only hope I havent got my expectations up too high that it is only a good ep for me. I did that for the 200th and was slightly disappointed.

  11. ncisrulez says:

    I CAN’T WAIT I CAN’T WAIT I CAN’T WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D

  12. Pepper says:

    Non-main cast deaths serve the purpose of cast members having sex and babies being conceived out of sight.

    Though I’m strongly against Ziva and Tony ending up together (Ziva deserves soooo much better!!!), I saw it happening around season 7 or 8. Now this UST has been stretched too long. I think they missed the mark big time. It’s just a pre-teen wet dream.

    • vicki says:

      Funny – I think Tony deserves better. Too bad every show seems to think there has to be either a love triangle or two of the characters have to have long, stretched out romantic drama. I would just like a good, intelligent story.

    • Ashley says:

      I think tony has grown and matured a lot more from season 7, I think he truly genuinely cares for ziva and I think she cares for him. I believe there can be wrong ways to bring them together and there can be right ways to bring them together, I would be happy to see them get together if they did it the right way. I think this episode is going to show how much tony loves ziva and I think ziva will realize it too.

      • Kim R says:

        I’m still wondering if they are not already together but keeping it just between them knowing how Gibbs feels about this type of thing. I won’t be surprised if there is a reveal to the viewers at some point before the end of the season. :)

        • Joy says:

          Agree! I’ve actually thought this for a couple of seasons now. I’m okay with it if it is done tastefully but Gibbs is not going to be pleased with it.

  13. Saint Alicia says:

    I like how Glasberg emphasizes that Tony is there for Ziva “as a friend and a co-worker”; wouldn’t want people to get the wrong idea. Sure she’s sleeping in his bed and all, but don’t you dare think it’s anything but platonic. NCIS has been steadfastly dragging “Tiva” out for 8 seasons and they’re not about to start making progress now!

    • Stacey says:

      Except they are… But right now it’s platonic (although I still think something more happened in “Under covers” and that summer Gibbs was gone. Or even in Paris. But still, they have gotten very close. Heck it looks like she’s staying at his place in the promo. And Gibbs is alright with it. Sure it’s about co-workers. But they ain’t the typical co-worker. Why stay at Tonys? Not Gibbs. If she needs a place to stay? They are working up to something. And they are getting closer to that day. And it wouldn’t be right to anything big in the wake of her father’s death. She’s too emotional. So they are taking their time…

    • Brian says:

      they are friends and coworkers now…but that doesn’t mean they are going to stay there. No, it is more than clear that GG is moving this relationship forward. No progress? What show have you been watching? We get “progress” in every episode.

  14. Svenja says:

    I cannot wait to see this episode. I am super excited. I have so many questions. Shabbat Shalom was amazing. Cannot wait to see Gibbs being the papa bear, Vance struggling with his kids, the conspiracy stuff and the Tony and Ziva stuff. Tony and Ziva seem to move towards something real and lasting. Slowly but gradually evolving. It’s amazing. I still wonder how this incident will affect NCIS and also Vance’s position as a director… I am so sorry for him and his kids. It is so sad. Please Gary never do such a thing to Breena and Jimmy. They need to stay happy and stable. My heart is a little broken, but it is still fantastic storytelling :)

  15. mewofford says:

    Excited for Shiva. Thanks for the insights!

    Was very sorry to have Jackie Vance die though. Now, except for Palmer’s new bride, no one in our core group has anyone to share their life with outside that group. I am thinking we might see some more of the older couple that is at the scene from Jackie’s funeral that we’ve seen. Probably her parents. If Vance continues as director he will need someone at home for those young teens/tweens he has.

    I do hope by the end of the season Ziva and Tony are much closer. Perhaps not in a romantic relationship yet but on the cusp. And really, I think they’re past the UST of the earlier seasons. That’s always a superficial attraction. Now they are connected on a much more emotional level.

    • Kathi says:

      I agree – the UST is for “beginners” – the relationship they have now (and the relationship they are heading to) is based on something much more solid than sexual attraction. You can have UST with lots of people – doesn’t mean you want to spend the rest of your life with them. This is why T/Z will work when they finally get together; it’s taken awhile for them to get this point, but I think slow progress has merit where these two are concerned.

  16. Matt, thank you so much for sharing the NCIS scoops with us….very much appreciated. I’m looking forward to seeing how this will affect Vance as the season goes on, as well as how it affects Ziva…..I hope this is the catalyst to finally bring Tony and Ziva together. I know Rocky and Cote will shine in tonight’s episode.

  17. Kathy Lambert says:

    Personally I was hoping that this might mean an introduction of another director. I warmed to Vance a bit but it is good to introduce new important characters and i think it’s time for Vance to leave and maybe another women director similar to Jenny. I really think that this has exhausted Vance’s time as leader of his department. I don’t know if I’m excited about seeing another episode of a wounded Vance (he was shot, he had the bomb in his car, his nephew, etc.) Let’s have more Diane Neal and less Vance.

    • Cindy Woods says:

      I agree I’m not sure why they killed Mrs. Vance off and really I’m not sure why Vance put his wife in that circumstance with the director of Mossad in his personal home with no bodyguards. I do also think it’s time for a new director. I wish they had turned the opposite way and made his character more interesting and mysterious instead of making him appear weak the last two years. In fact if this was truly NCIS in real life Vance would have been gone a long time ago with depression issues. I won’t mind just don’t make this a major arc of Vance in mourning. I think I might just skip those eps. He’s a decent actor I just think it’s also time for a change. It also would give us different storylines. I am intruiged by the actor playing the deputy director. Hopefully he hits it off well with the fans and they consider making him permanent.

      • Jaz says:

        Ok well I kinda disagree with everything you said about Vance. I love his character, it took some time but now I do love the way they’ve shaped him. I don’t like that they killed off Jackie but I can see potential for something great as long as they don’t take Vance away! He is such an awesome director and character in the NCIS family! And I’m sick of them changing directors.

    • fran says:

      is this because Vance is black. i think the story line from the beginning was good, mapping out te transition of bringing in any new person in place of Jenny.

  18. JBC says:

    It would be nice to see Jackie Vance in a couple of flashbacks at least, as Vance is going through the grief stages, and maybe even Eli’s story in flashbacks as they investigate who did this. At least the actors would get to be on a few more episodes that way. I really like NCIS and think they are doing a great job. The ratings show that too.

  19. morecowbell94 says:

    Thanks so much for the info. I’m so excited for this episode! Is it 8 yet?

  20. AngelMoon Girl says:

    Thank you! Oh, I am SO excited for this. Cote de Pablo is amazing with these intense, emotional storylines. And I really hope we see Tony/Ziva taking big steps forward! I love how he is there for her in whatever she needs, in this difficult time, no matter what it is. Can’t wait for tonight!

  21. Spikenalabama says:

    I sooooo wish it had been Ziva that had been shot and killed. Cannot stand that character. (Cue all the venomous responses.)

    • jdeasselin says:

      then why do you bother watching this show…??? She is in every scene. Maybe you would be less stressed watching cartoons – more your speed…

      • vicki says:

        It would be nice if she wasn’t in every scene. I really liked Ziva when she first came on the show. She was interesting. I don’t even recognize that character any more. I admit, I’ve given up on the show I use to watch, but I try to watch it still – I made it thru half of tonight’s show. the quirkiness is gone. It’s like NCIS 90210 now.

        • Joy says:

          Although I love Zivas character, they did make her more “Americanized” and not the edgy person we saw earlier. I understand people grow into their environment but I miss the quirky/odd Ziva

    • Jaz says:

      I wont be completely mean.. although I flipped out on twitter over this comment. But why do you not like her so much? Please dont tell me you are still hooked up on Kate?! How can you watch a show and not like one of the main characters? Cote De Pablo has done and did a terrific job in Shabbat Shalom and I cried the a baby from the minute she started crying! If Ziva left there would be 20 million viewers, not to mention another 100 million around the world that would be VERy pissed.

    • Reuben says:

      If Ziva’s not feminine enough for you why don’t you go and watch the soaps! I think she’s a strong female character which we need more of in modern TV so shut your crap hole.

  22. LossyJay says:

    I loved last week’s episode. This will spring board Ziva and Tony into some intriguing investigative work. Tony is not the goof off… Gibbs once said he is the smartest agent he has ever worked with…Tony and Ziva gel because of their issues with their fathers… and Robert Waggoner is truly an excellent match to Tony. I am curious about the “pregnant” undercover photo of Ziva.. that Tony was teasing her about…then her Father just happened to see… is there a secret life together maybe with a daughter name for Tony’s mom and Ziva’s little sister? I can not wait for upcoming storyline. Vance is a plus for NCIS… he cares deeply for his entire team on individual levels….I am going to miss his wife (Oprah look-a-like… I liked when she shot the assassin in her house! Wow!

  23. tvdiva says:

    Matt – great interview. And it is good to know the killer will not be wrapped up in a bow this episode, but stretched out over several episodes and lead us into the season finale.

  24. Joanna Engels says:

    why was the first new episoide all out of focus? not good

  25. Helen Powell says:

    Is there any way to get a copy of the song ‘You are not alone, put out the fire in your head and lay with me tonight.’ It was sung during the episode when Zeva buries her father in Israel. Thank you for helping me find it. I thought it was beautifully done.

  26. Ray says:

    I like Jackie & Eli I was sorry to see them both killed.

  27. Reuben says:

    They did introduce a deputy director! Vance was the deputy director when he first introduced because Jenny was still in charge.