‘NCIS’ Star David McCallum Opened Up on His ‘Frustration’ and ‘Anger’ When Cote de Pablo Left Show in Season 11

by Megan Molseed

It’s not uncommon for a show’s characters to leave as the seasons go by. In fact, many long-running television shows tend to see major cast changes over the years. Sometimes, a character leaves in order to further a storyline. Other times, a character exits because the actor portraying them is ready for a new opportunity. However, some exits, such as Cote de Pablo’s exit from “NCIS” can leave the audiences – and costars – wondering what, exactly led to the change.

“First of all, it was frustration and anger that someone should just walk out on us,” said Cote de Pablo’s former costar David McCallum of the actress’s unexpected exit from “NCIS.”

Cote De Pablo portrayed the mysterious Ziva David since the character was first introduced in the third season of “NCIS.”

Television’s Mysterious Agent

When agent Ziva David arrived on the show to join the “NCIS,” not much is known about the agent. Most of the information that we learned emerged over the next eight seasons before she left.

What we did learn was that David was a former Mossad officer. Mossad is the Israeli civilian foreign intelligence and covert action organization. Ziva’s “NCIS” connection evolves from the connection with the Mossad organization. The agent’s complicated storyline continues through the seasons.

“I have emailed her since then and she seems fine,” McCallum told Digital Spy in a 2014 interview, shortly after Ziva’s exit. “I just don’t understand how a leading lady in a show that’s worldwide – who ostensibly wants to have a career as an actress – suddenly walks away from such a gem and just vanishes a couple of days before we start production.”

Pablo left the show in season ten. Before production for season eleven even began. In the series, the character perishes in an unexpected explosion.

Pablo Claims Personal Reasons Led to Her Exit From “NCIS”

When asked why she had made the decision to exit the show, Cote de Pablo cited personal reasons. But, she noted the decision wasn’t an easy one.

In a later interview, however, Pablo noted that she felt her character wasn’t being treated as she deserved by the show’s decision-makers.

“I perceived that the character was not being treated with the respect that she deserved,” the actress explained.

After five seasons away from “NCIS” Ziva’s storyline shifted a bit. This happened when Ziva made a surprise appearance later in the show’s run. The new storyline explains that the agent’s death was staged. Ziva had actually returned to Isreal after the explosion.

Writers added this storyline to the hit series during the sixteenth season episode, “Into the Light” when Ziva returned unexpectedly. In fact, Pablo’s character shared a sweet moment with McCallum’s character, Ducky in the episode.