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Cote de Pablo will not be returning to "NCIS" as many fans had hoped. Instead, her character, Ziva David, will be written off the series in a fitting manner but with the opportunity for her to return.
"We offered Cote de Pablo a lot of money, and then we offered her even more money," CBS President Leslie Moonves told the press. "We really didn't want to lose her. We love her; we think she was terrific. Ultimately, she decided she didn't want to do the show."
De Pablo has been with the show for eight seasons, taking over the lead female character's role when Sasha Alexander left to begin working on "Rizzoli & Isles." Her character has been a real hit with fans, who were practically begging the actress to return for one more season.
"I LOVE Ziva and will miss her terribly. She has such chemistry with ALL the NCIS cast. I especially love her with Tony. NCIS has always been a show I've loved through Kate AND Ziva!" TV Guide reader Gma48 posted.
Even writer Gary Glasberg was left stunned by de Pablo's decision.
"I was very, very surprised. This is not what I was planning on. She's a part of this family and a part of this team, and the efforts were being made by everyone. Someone asked me if I was planning for this, but I really wasn't, so basically the minute that this became real, I had to throw out a lot of what I was planning to do and start from scratch. But what came out of it is a really terrific [season-opening] two-parter that I think people are going to be really blown away by," Glasberg told TVLine.
"I've had 8 great years with 'NCIS' and Ziva David," de Pablo said in a statement. "I have huge respect and affection for Mark, Gary, Michael, David, Rocky, Pauley, Brian, Sean, all of the team and CBS. I look forward to finishing Ziva's story."
"NCIS" premieres on Sept. 24 on CBS.