‘NCIS’: How Show Made Drastic Pivots When Cote de Pablo Departed Show

by Joe Rutland

“NCIS” was caught off-guard when Cote de Pablo, who played Ziva David, left the hit CBS crime show just before its 11th season.

The popular show had to make some major pivots with their scripts after de Pablo left, according to a 2014 article from Digital Spy.

David McCallum, who plays Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard on the show, had some pointed comments about de Pablo leaving “NCIS.”

“First of all, it was frustration and anger that someone should just walk out on us,” McCallum said in 2014. He also pointed out that fast, last-minute rewrites had to be done in multiple episodes.

McCallum is no newcomer to a popular TV series. He played Russian spy Illya Kuryakin alongside Robert Vaughn, who played American spy Napoleon Solo, on “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” in the 1960s.

Having to do a lot of rewriting at the last minute, though, affects the entire cast. That means they have to read new scripts and learn new lines. It’s not something that is easy to do. But “NCIS” had to do it because de Pablo left the show.

Cote de Pablo did return to “NCIS” in a guest appearance in the show’s 16th season. Her Ziva David character became a recurring role in the 17th season of the CBS show.

‘NCIS’ Actor Looked Upon Show Star Mark Harmon as ‘Father Figure’

“NCIS” star Cote de Pablo admitted that she viewed lead actor Mark Harmon in a special way.

“You know, he’s more like a, you know he’s a friend mentor,” de Pablo said in a 2019 interview with BUILD. “He was always like a father figure to me. And, obviously, Ziva [David] gives out that but Cote and Mark give out that.”

De Pablo admitted that her “NCIS” return was really a tightly held secret.

“It was like a top-secret operation,” de Pablo said. “My God, these guys were like no joke. They were calling every second like ‘we’re delayed by an hour, we’re delayed by two hours. Just you wait. Stay put.’ I was like ‘Where am I going to go? I’m here for this!'”

Social Media Isn’t Very Important To de Pablo And Her Life

But don’t expect to see de Pablo posting pictures of her daily activities on social media. She is not on any of the major platforms at all.

“I guess I’m negotiating within myself because I’m an incredibly private person,” de Pablo said.

She doesn’t mind others using social media in their lives. It’s just not her bag for the “NCIS” star.

“It’s almost like you’re talking about a world that I’m not a part of,” de Pablo said. “That world is fascinating and shiny and everyone’s pretty and everyone’s having a great time.”