NCIS star thought ‘nobody’ wanted to leave prior to Ziva David exit

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NCIS has been airing on CBS for 20 seasons, with the milestone series currently being released weekly on the American network. The crime procedural first became with an almost entirely different cast, including the forever charming Agent Tony DiNozzo (played by Michael Weatherly). He had an ongoing flirtationship with Agent Ziva David (Cote de Pablo) until she left the team in 2013.

WARNING: This article contains spoilers from NCIS.

Nine years ago, Ziva, Tony and Agent Timothy McGee (Sean Murray) travelled to Israel to protect Agent Leroy Gibbs (Mark Harmon) from a political vendetta.

However, when the issue had been resolved, Ziva decided to stay in her home country, rather than return to America.

The unexpected exit shocked long-term viewers who were desperate to see her and Tony get together.

Before he did get on the plane back to the USA though, the colleagues did share a passionate kiss, giving fans just a hint of what they wanted.

Many viewers weren’t expecting Ziva to leave NCIS and according to an interview with Weatherly back in 2013, neither did he.

The Tony DiNozzo actor spoke to World Screen Podcast in March of that year, seven months before Ziva’s final episode, stating that none of the cast were looking elsewhere for work.

He said: “We’re an open, relaxed environment where there is a free exchange of ideas and thoughts, it’s not a creatively inhibiting place and it’s a real pleasure to go to a workspace like that.

“There’s nobody that’s thinking, ‘What’s next?’ in terms of a career, everyone is really satisfied and happy to be where we are.”

Weatherly added: “As strange as that sounds, it’s very rare, because people often look at the job they have as a stepping stone to the next thing they want.

“And we’re all happily married to each other.”

Despite the 54-year-old’s comments at the time, just months later and actress Cote de Pablo’s final episode on the drama aired on CBS.

A few years on from her departure, Pablo explained that the reason for her exit was “political”.

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She said: “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.”

Thankfully, the writers did come up with a plot that lured Pablo back to the NCIS set.

In season 16, Ziva rose from the dead as it was revealed the agent had faked her death in Israel to protect her loved ones.

She ultimately had a happy ending as she reunited with DiNozzo and their daughter Tali in Paris shortly after returning to America.

NCIS season 20 continues on Monday, November 14, on CBS in the USA. A UK release date hasn’t been announced.

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