The CBS cr1me drama “NCIS,” which is currently in its 19th season, is a rare spin-off that has outlasted its parent show, “JAG,” which lasted 10 seasons. “NCIS” has been on the air since 2003 and has spawned three spin-off series. The original series followed the fictional Naval Cr1m1nal Investigative Service, which was led by Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon) until Harmon abruptly left the show earlier this season.
Agents Abby Sciuto (Pauley Perrette), Anthony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly), and Ziva David have all left Gibbs’ team over the years (Cote de Pablo). Sciuto appeared in the first 15 seasons, while DiNozzo appeared in the first 13, but Agent David’s character arc was more complicated. The tough and fearless ex-Mossad agent uses her experience with Israeli special forces to become one of the most valuable and effective members of the NCIS team, but she vanishes in Season 11 and is presumed d3ad by DiNozzo and Gibbs in Season 13.
De Pablo chose to leave the show on her own. Les Moonves, CEO of CBS, stated: “We made a substantial financial offer to Cote de Pablo. Then we made her an even bigger offer. We didn’t want to lose her; we adored her, and she was fantastic… but she ultimately decided she didn’t want to do the show. It was entirely her choice.” De Pablo also chose to return in Season 17, providing her with the opportunity to find closure for herself and her character.
Both the character and the actor were moved by Ziva David’s final appearance on NCIS.
Ziva David is revealed to be alive in Season 16, and she returns for several episodes early in Season 17, with her final appearance coming in Episode 11, “Into the Wind.” David foregoes flying to Paris to reunite with DiNozzo and their daughter in order to assist Gibbs in locating a kidnapped boy. On their last day of work together, she reveals a rare vulnerability to her boss, telling him, “Gibbs, we’ve had more broken hearts than most. Enough to make us fearful of ever opening them again.”
David’s emotional reactions are uncharacteristically raw and frank as a result of her admissions of anxiety about traveling to Europe. She informs Gibbs, “I’ve been looking over my shoulder for years. I’m like a combat veteran attempting to reclaim some semblance of normalcy as a mother, as a partner… what if I’m too damaged to return to who I once was?” When David tells Gibbs, “things come full circle… it’s hard to believe it’s all coming to an end,” it appears to be the actor speaking.
The obvious affection between the actors is evident in the show’s final scene as they say their goodbyes, and the sly wink she gives Gibbs as the elevator doors close behind her leaves the door open for David to return. But even if that never happens, both the actor and the character have had satisfying endings to their time on “NCIS.”
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