“NCIS” fans have spent the summer expressing their thoughts on fan favorite Cote de Pablo‘s impending departure from the hit CBS show, but stoic star Mark Harmon had kept quiet — until now.

Harmon appeared on the new “Arsenio Hall Show” on Thursday (Sept. 12) night, where he attempted to diminish de Pablo’s exit, noting that it’s simply the latest of several “changes” the show’s faced during its run. The actor acknowledged that “it’s up to this highly professional group to use that as a springboard to get better, to improve and to stay No. 1.”

Of the show’s evolution in general, Harmon said, “We’ve had a lot of changes. We’ve managed to get better with the changes both in front of the camera and behind the camera.”

De Pablo’s eight year run as Ziva David is scheduled to conclude in the second episode of the show’s upcoming 11th season and, according to a logline released by the network, the episode will involve Tony (Michael Weatherly) heading to Isreal to locate Ziva.

Check out Harmon’s full appearance — including a Season 11 sizzle reel — above.

“NCIS” returns for Season 11 on Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 8:00 p.m. ET on CBS.

Posted by:Billy Nilles