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The long short goodbye
October 2, 2013 - Pam Rodgers
In May, I was dumbfounded along with many other “NCIS” fans when the news that Cote de Pablo would be departing from the show after eight seasons. de Pablo brings to life Ziva David, a Mossad assassin turned NCIS agent. She has been my favorite character since she joined the show in 2005.
With the news also came many questions. The biggest by far was how will she be written out of the show? I worried that the answer would be to kill off her character. “NCIS” has done that with plenty of former stars and guest stars that my mind immediately went to that possibility, and I wasn't OK with that.
Over the summer, we were peppered with scraps of knowledge about how the show runners were planning to deal with Ziva’s unexpected exit. One of the first announcements was that Ziva would not be killed off the show, which made me happy. Well, as happy as I could be about the situation.
As the new season approached, it was announced that the first two episodes would be dedicated to Ziva’s farewell. When the season premiered, I was disappointed that Ziva wasn’t in a single scene of the first episode. It’s not what I was expecting, and I was upset by the exclusion.
Ziva was still an integral part of the plot. We got to see her photo a few times, and she interacted with her partner, Tony DiNozzo, via text messages. But that’s hardly what you want in the first of her farewell episodes. But alas, it’s what we got, and it set stage for her final episode. Ziva was on the run in Israel with Tony trying to find her.
The episode was bittersweet, as I knew it would be. I thought the writers handled her exit very well. Ziva wanted another chance to be different kind of person. She had been the Mossad assassin and government agent for the majority of her life. It was time for her to put that lifestyle behind her. It's a very believable storyline because she has lost so many people close to her, most recently her father. She decided to remain in her home country to find her new path.
Her goodbye with Tony was heartfelt, and everything I could have wanted. Ziva and Tony had been locked in a will-they-won’t-they romance since they met. It was a nice nod to the fans to have them have a moment of honesty about their feelings, knowing they would be miles apart when the show picked up a week later.
After I had fully processed the episode, I was left wanting more. Not just because I hate to see Ziva go, but her goodbye didn’t seem complete. It was a good episode. I liked the way the set it up for her to leave, but I thought the execution of it was a bit of a letdown. They could have done much more with it. It almost feels surreal, like it wasn't really goodbye.
They only person she got to be face-to-face with was Tony. The rest of the team will have to settle for phone calls, most of them off camera. That isn’t the ideal way of saying goodbye to the people who had become like family to her. I didn’t want a long drawn out farewell, but it would have been nice to see her interact with everyone on the team one last time. Those goodbyes will just have to be left to the imagination.
That aside, I understand why the writers told the story the way they did. The door is wide open for Ziva’s character. If she’s never in the series again, it would make sense. If Cote de Pablo changes her mind, she could easily return. Or if she wants to appear as a guest star, that option is available as well. It’s a perfect setup for a difficult situation.
I wish Cote de Pablo the best of luck in her future endeavors. I will miss her on the show and hope that she decides to come back, even it’s just a few episodes. I really hope we haven’t seen the last of Ziva David.