Cote de Pablo Mum on NCIS Exit Details, Says: 'I Left Under My Terms, and That Was Wonderful'

Why Did Cote de Pablo Leave NCISBreaking her silence for the first time since issuing a statement about her and NCIS‘ shocking parting of the ways, Cote de Pablo (somewhat) addresses the elephant in the room:

Why did she leave?

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Speaking with TV Guide Magazine, the actress says the exact details surrounding her exit from the role of Ziva David after eight years on the CBS drama is “a personal thing, and I’d rather leave it at that.” (Shortly after her departure was announced, CBS CEO Les Moonves said, “We offered Cote de Pablo a lot of money — and then we offered her even more money.”)

Yet the actress goes on to note, “The idea of leaving was not something I toyed around with for a long time. It was an overwhelmingly hard thing — at times terrifying.”

“Leaving NCIS was not planned,” she reiterates when later asked to preview her future plans.

RELATED | Michael Weatherly on Ziva’s Exit: NCIS Has a ‘Remarkable Core DNA’ That Withstands Change

De Pablo confirms that she shares her final scene — as she did in very first NCIS bullpen scene — with Michael Weatherly, and promises the closing of “a beautiful chapter” between Ziva and Tony DiNozzo.

But as for wrapping up her storyline in Season 11’s first two episodes (starting tonight at 8/7c), she states: “Did I want to leave under those circumstances? That’s another story. But I’m not of the belief that you just take off and leave fans hanging…. I left under my terms, and that was wonderful.”

PHOTOS | Fall TV Spoiler Spectacular: Exclusive Scoop on NCIS and 44 Other Returning Faves

We now leave you with de Pablo during a much more playful moment, accepting in 2012 TVLine’s Ultimate Law-Enforcement Crushes Tournament trophy (the “male” version of which went to Weatherly).

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157 Comments
  1. I miss Cote, too. Perhaps, after a period of rest, Ziva will return. Maybe she has had a baby while away, and will come back as an unwed mother. More mature, but definitely still able to kick-ass.

  2. f4nsi6ck says:

    I respect Cote’s decision but still hope that she returns to NCIS. I agree that the new girl doesn’t fit in…. getting lost in her script… yes she’s a rookie as an agent but I hope not as an actor…. NCIS would lose its standing to be a classy intelligence agency. Honestly, I have stayed away from the new episodes and just enjoy watching the reruns with Ziva. We miss you Ziva….Please come back :(

  3. Bob says:

    I liked Coyote de Pablo and I like Emily Wickersham. They are much better than Lauren Holly’s character. Though I wish Jimmy Palmer wasn’t so dumb.

  4. Hope Creasman says:

    This is such a mistake. Ziva belongs on NCIS. We have pulled for you all these years and you owe us some slack. Please don’t leave. If it is the hours of work you do, I am sure you could work part time.

  5. Doug Boone says:

    there is no doubt that cotes charactor ziva was an integral part of ncis’s success, and the show hasn’t been the same since she left.you cannot replace someone who played that part so well.the csi series tried it and has failed, criminal minds tried it with letting aj cook go, and they had to bring her back. so if they don’t try and bring back cote, they will lose there number one rating. she’s the best looking butt kicker on tv and plays the part supperbly.if she won’t come back, then you should try and lure aj cook away from criminal minds.we love cote.

  6. Wanda says:

    Ziva! Ziva I miss you so much on the show. It is not the same with you gone. The other staff is great, but you bought out something that they will never get back – your relationship with Tony who is great. Enjoy!

  7. Barbara says:

    I do not care for the new girl. What is it with her and sitting on the floor she just isn’t Ziva. But I was thinking that maybe she is with child. A year off maybe she will come back.

  8. BC says:

    Somehow I don’t think that Bishop is going to tickle all the female viewers’ hidden inner lesbian quite like Ziva did. And when the heck are they going to get rid of those CRT’s?!?

  9. Jean Alica says:

    I noticed that when Cote de Pablo’s departure was pending a lot of fans asked for Diane Neal’s character to replace her but that would not have worked as it would have been a demotion. But a red head would have appealed more at that time. She could still have been married but instead of a Proby she could have been a regular NCIS agent who has moved to be with her husband. Maybe she already knows Gibbs.It might have worked given that trying to replace a beloved character of eight years would be difficult. I don’t care who she has worked for the present character is a total mistake. She is to opposite Ziva for it to work. (

  10. CathPounder says:

    come home Ziva. We miss, and dare I say need you. What a character, what a waste.

  11. NCIS LA need to learn something from the ORIGINIAL SHOW!!!! NCIS (especiallywith Cote) had such a tremendous sense of connection between the cast, there is a real feeling the viewers get from the backstory of the characters……EACH AND EVERY ONE…..FROM ABBY TO JETHRO AND DUCKY…..I FEEL LIKE THEY ARE MEMBERS OF MY FAMILY AND THATS WHY I CAN WATCH RE-RUNS OF NCIS FROM YRS AGO EVEN IF I HAVE SEEN THEM 100X. I STILL GET THE SAME EMOTIONS EVERY TIME. NCIS LA IS LACKING IN THAT DEPARTMENT AND THEY NEED TO FOCUS LESS OF THE BIG EXPOSIONS AND MORE ON CHARACTER DEVEOPMENT. THAT IS WHAT KEEP VIEWERS HOOKED. And I am so so so so very sad to see Ziva go, because the chemistry between Tony and her was ELECTRIC. GOODBYE AND GOODLUCK COTE IN YOUR NEXT FUTURE ENDEAVORS!!! SINCERELY, CARRIE from Springfield MO (1OF YOUR BIGGEST FANS :-) )

  12. griskapratiwi says:

    Kate gone, and now ziva do. At the first time I think nobody can’t replace kate, but I saw ziva in NCIS I tried to loved it and now I really love it. And the blonde girl who play elanour, I think she don’t have a charisma like kate and ziva. And it makes me NCIS so empty, WE WANT ZIVA BACK!

  13. griskapratiwi says:

    ZIVA GONE! NCIS 11 DONE

  14. Elmer B Fillow says:

    We miss ziva. Show is not the same without her. As a big fan , It is a big loss for us.

  15. I have loved ncis since ZIva joined the ncis team.they all seemed to mesh together, a special chemistry that was second to none. This past season without her was dull.NO CHEMISTRY AT ALL. what happened to the HEADSLAPS? Where’s the SPARK? I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THE ENTIRE CAST,EXCEPT FOR ZIVA’S REPLACEMENT,SHE MAYBE A GOOD ACTRESS, BUT ON NCIS! UNFORTUNATELY NO ONE CAN REPLACE COTE DE PABLO,OUR ZIVA!

  16. vincent says:

    she left because her boyfriend did not like where the storyline was going with ziva and dinozzo

    • Zusel ben Shlomo says:

      Ziva was removed from the show because she represented a positive, strong, Israeli woman committed to the war that both Israel and America are allied in against terrorism and the enemies of freedom Think about how the show over time moved from ordinary homicides of naval/marine personnel (jealousy, money, criminals, etc) to the war on terrorism – specifically Islamist terrorism. Ziva, and by extension Israel, was vital a partner in that fight. That projection of an Israeli committed to justice for American service men and women was no longer desirable by some people in a position to shape American perceptions.

      NCIS was a lot more than a mystery show with nice character interaction. It was about values, American values, and Israeli values and combining them in one person was not “politically correct.”

  17. I’m not saying anything was going on with Mark and Cote, he is married man. But the behavior these two were displaying on and off screen was very disrespectful. I don’t care how close they were. He is married and that means hands off!

  18. Kathy says:

    Please come back Ziva. Miss you alot on NCIS. You and Tony have not finished your storiyline. miss you lots come back come back for good. I love NCIS watch it all the time even he ones on cloo and USA but it is not the same on without you the new girl is ok but you are the best COME BACK

  19. debbie chumney says:

    I loved cote de pablo so much she played ziva david so perfect that you thought she truly was ziva. I have watched ncis from the very first I love love mark harmon thats why it broke my heart when cote left to have to stop watching the show. Cote brought a fresh of breath air to the show. It felt like they were all really a family now that family is broken. No one will ever replace code ever! I miss the show so much so I watch it on usa every time its on. Thank god for reruns on usa with ziva david. I know iam just 1 person & what I think does not matter to you but ncis will never be the same with out her. Mark harmon is awesome but with code the show was perfect!! And p.s. you just need 1 ncis you cant replace code david & you cant have any ncis show run right without mark harmon. Just have the 1 ncis with harmon in charge tony tim & ziva & of course abby dr. Mallard & palmer. And then you have a never ending hit!!!! P.s. letting jenny go as director another huge mistske. Please I miss the show so much bring back are loveable ziva david she is so missed & the new girl is as fake as kate was.

  20. debbie chumney says:

    I loved code de pablo so much she played ziva david so perfect that you thought she truly was ziva. I have watched ncis from the very first I love love mark harmon thats why it broke my heart when code left to have to stop watching the show she brought a fresh of breath air to the show. It felt like they were all really a family now that family is broken. No one will ever replace code ever! I miss the show so much so I watch it on usa every time its on. Thank god for reruns on usa with ziva david. I know iam just 1 person & what I think does not matter to you but ncis will never be the same with out her. Mark harmon is awesome but with code the show was perfect!! And p.s. you just need 1 ncis you cant replace code david & you cant have any ncis show run right without mark harmon. Just have the 1 ncis with harmon in charge tony tim & ziva & of course abby dr. Mallard & palmer. And then you have a never ending hit!!!! P.s. letting jenny go as director another huge mistske. Please I miss the show so much bring back are loveable ziva david she is so missed & the new girl is as fake as kate was.

  21. Herbstreit, Judy says:

    Please come back to NCIS. It isn’t the same without you. We all miss you.

  22. Hi there, after reading this remarkable paragraph i am also cheerful to share my experience here with friends.

  23. sue says:

    we loved your character and miss her greatly. hope all is well and you;r happy. you are also beautiful and smart

  24. Bobbie Lesesne says:

    I was so disappointed when Cote de Pablo left NCIS. But tried to give my favorite show a chance to step up, It is lackin in excitement, very sad. I like the characters on NCIS LA. So will continue to watch it.

  25. Amy Carr says:

    Cote de Pablo should have left NCIS at all because she was a good actor.

  26. whatever reason your leaving for Cote , they must be good one’s.all i know is you will be missed not only by me ,but all your many fans.I wish you well and good luck in all that you do XX

  27. Ms. Jackie says:

    I was really, really dissapointed when Cote de Pablo left. I still miss her. What could have been so personal?, That she left her fans hanging? It’s hard to except.

  28. Ashley says:

    NCIS just isn’t the same without Cote de Pablo :(

  29. Eileen Delong says:

    I am not a person who usually gets caught up in TV characters, but I loved Ziva and want her back! If she is the holdout instead of the show’s producers, I wish she would change her mind and just walk into the office one morning like nothing happened, put down her purse and start to work. She and Tony had a chemistry that we rarely see between two characters on the big or little screen. Maybe I am being childish by not wanting to move on, but I don’t know why things had to change when they were good for the show. I feel that Ziva really didn’t know how much people loved and have missed her.

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