NCIS: Why did Cote de Pablo leave NCIS as Ziva David?

NCIS’ Cote de Pablo was a beloved member of the CBS franchise but why did she leave as Agent Ziva David?
NCIS is now in its 19th season with an almost entirely new cast with Agent Leroy Gibbs (played by Mark Harmon) now out of the picture. The catalyst of actors leaving the CBS police procedural began with Agent Ziva David’s (Cote de Pablo) exit in 2014. While it seemed everything was business as usual on-screen, it was a different story for de Pablo behind the cameras.
Why did Cote de Pablo leaves NCIS as Ziva David?

It is often the case that it is the creators’ decision to write particular characters out of shows to further develop certain storylines.

However, in terms of Ziva David, it was actress de Pablo’s choice to leave the drama, despite former CBS CEO Les Moonves previously stating they had offered her “even more money” to stay.

But the financial aspect didn’t affect the actor’s decision
Rather, it was down to maintaining the integrity of her character Ziva which prompted her to go.
Rather, it was down to maintaining the integrity of her character Ziva which prompted her to go.


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NCIS is now in its 19th season with an almost entirely new cast with Agent Leroy Gibbs (played by Mark Harmon) now out of the picture. The catalyst of actors leaving the CBS police procedural began with Agent Ziva David’s (Cote de Pablo) exit in 2014. While it seemed everything was business as usual on-screen, it was a different story for de Pablo behind the cameras.
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WARNING: This article contains spoilers from NCIS.
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Why did Cote de Pablo leaves NCIS as Ziva David?

It is often the case that it is the creators’ decision to write particular characters out of shows to further develop certain storylines.

However, in terms of Ziva David, it was actress de Pablo’s choice to leave the drama, despite former CBS CEO Les Moonves previously stating they had offered her “even more money” to stay.

But the financial aspect didn’t affect the actor’s decision.
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Rather, it was down to maintaining the integrity of her character Ziva which prompted her to go.

READ MORE: Coronation Street theory: Toyah Battersby betrays Imran as he frames A

Rather, it was down to maintaining the integrity of her character Ziva which prompted her to go.

NCIS: why cote de pablo leave ziva david
Why did Cote de Pablo leave NCIS as Ziva David? (Image: GETTY/CBS)

NCIS: ziva david tony dinozzo romance cbs
NCIS: Ziva David had a flirtationship with Tony DiNozzo. (Image: CBS)
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In a 2016 Q&A, when asked why she left NCIS, de Pablo explained: “Unfortunately because of political things and scripts not being good enough, I chose not to [return to NCIS].

“Look, I love this character! I worked for eight years crafting [Ziva] and when I felt like the character wasn’t being treated with the respect she deserved.

“They were going to send [Ziva] back to Israel and make her an unfortunate, miserable woman.

“I didn’t think it was fair. I told them until someone can write something really fantastic for Ziva I won’t come back.”

In response at the time, Moonves said: “We really didn’t want to lose her, we love her. We think she’s terrific.

“We obviously were in discussions… and ultimately she decided she didn’t want to do the show. It was her decision.

“We don’t like losing anybody. We did everything humanly possible [and] exhausted every opportunity, and she just decided she didn’t want to do the show.”


Ziva believed it was time to hang up her NCIS badge in season 11 and return to her home country of Israel.

Fans were shocked two years later though when it was believed she had been murdered in a mortar attack, prompting former lover and colleague Agent Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly) to leave with their daughter Tali to start a new life in Paris.

Actress de Pablo said she wouldn’t return unless something “fantastic” was written for her and in season 16, she was brought back from the dead.

It was revealed that she hadn’t been killed, but instead had faked her own death as there were enemies looking to hurt Ziva and her family.
During the start of series 17, Ziva rejoined NCIS on a temporary basis, helping Gibbs with an investigation.
She was scared to get in touch with Tony, thinking that he wouldn’t want her back but after discovering Ziva was alive, he sent a heartwarming video of Tali asking her to come home.

Ziva thanked Gibbs for his help and headed for Paris where she was reunited with her family.

Despite these major characters’ exits, the show must go on with the drama in the middle of its 19th series.
NCIS hasn’t been airing any new episodes since the end of March, as the drama went on another hiatus.

The series will pick up from where it left off on Monday, April 18, for an episode called Last Dance.

Its description reads: “When an infamous arms dealer, Reymundo Diaz, is released from prison and bodies start piling up, Torres is forced to face the repercussions of his actions during an undercover operation he worked on years ago.”

NCIS season 19 continues on Monday, April 18, on CBS in America. Episodes are also being released every Wednesday on Disney+ UK