Whenever criminal-police procedural shows are mentioned, you’ll always find the NCIS name at the top. It is one of the best shows that aired on network television. NCIS premiered in 2003, and since then, it has remained a fan favorite because of its classic characters.

Over the years, the audience has seen some spectacular performances by new actors who became household names because of the show’s reach.

While it is fairly common for actors to leave shows on the air for nearly a decade, fans were still shocked to see one special agent bidding goodbye to the show in 2013.

Cote De Pablo As Ziva David

Cote De Pablo is a Chilean-American actress who joined the NCIS cast as the special agent (Ziva David) in 2005. She quickly became one of the regular cast members of the crime series. Ziva was an intelligent, skilled, and competent agent. 

At that time, a bad-ass character like Ziva was rare on the cable network, so Cote played a huge role. Pablo played such an empowered character in the entire series who didn’t rely on anyone else to be her hero. 

Women worldwide loved her portrayal, and in a couple of episodes, she became an essential part of the show. 

This is why when she told in 2013 about her character’s departure from the show, it broke fans’ hearts.

Even after leaving the hit series in the 11th season, viewers hoped Cote would change her mind and might come back. 

But their hopes were dampened when the show’s creators teased her death in season 13. It looked like terrorists captured and then killed her. This prompted fans to her permanent exit in season 11. 

Throughout the 16th season, the showrunners kept on teasing about Ziva’s comeback. They had created enough drama in season 16 about whether Ziva is alive or not. 

Eventually, fans were happy to see her character alive in the season finale. Cote once again joined the show in the 17th season as series regular, and it only made fans more curious about her departure in season 11.

Why Cote Left So Abruptly

Over the years, fans have gotten multiple reasons from Cote as to why she abruptly left. 

She gave an interview when she first bid her goodbye to Ziva and said it was because there was no good storyline left for her character development. 

She felt she had done everything with Ziva in eight years and wanted to leave it while it had some value. Cote also added that she had requested the creative team to give her a new character arc, but they refused. 

She said in her Q&A session that her character was not getting the kind of respect it should have gotten. Also, NCIS had a clear stance about many political issues that Cote didn’t agree with and didn’t feel comfortable getting associated with.

Another reason which she briefly touched upon in the same interview was the immense pressure she felt. She said every time the actors got the script, they would look for the “fight scene.” 

Ziva had many action sequences in every other episode, and Cote had done it all by herself. The actress was already a gym rat, so initially, she took it as a great challenge. 

But over the years, she starts seeing it as a burden. Also, at times terrifying and nerve-wracking too.

Cote’s Interview with USA Today

The 41-year-old actress will be reprising her beloved character in the upcoming seasons, and the press wanted to know what made her change her mind. 

While giving an interview to USA Today, she said that in her previous interview, her comments were not taken as intended, so now she won’t exactly share as to what made her quit back then:

“I think that was taken out of context at a certain point, and people start writing that to justify the idea of leaving. But I’m not ready to talk about that yet. I will someday. But I didn’t leave because I wanted to go or because I was ready or tired. I didn’t really have an option.”