According to joint statements issued by CBS and CBS TV Studios, the choice was the actress’.
“We respect Cote’s decision, thank her for being part of the ‘NCIS’ team, and we thank her for eight terrific years playing Ziva David,” the statement reads.
It continues, “Cote and CBS share a great respect for the ‘NCIS’ audience, and we look forward to working with her and the producers on appropriate closure in this chapter of Ziva’s story.”
As fans know, Ziva and Agent Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly) have had a flirtation over the course of her time on the show, which has become a close friendship but never truly evolved into full-blown romance.
De Pablo’s deal ended at the conclusion of last season, and she was the only main cast member to not sign on again for Season 11, which premieres Sept. 24.
Weatherly is coming back, along with Mark Harmon (Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs), Sean Murray (Agent Timothy McGee), Pauley Perrette (tech wizard Abby Sciuto), Rocky Carroll (NCIS Director Leon Vance), David McCallum (NCIS Medical Examinder Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard) and Brian Dietzen (Jimmy Palmer, Mallard’s assistant).
In her own statement, de Pablo — who has won an Imagen and an ALMA Award for the role — says, “I look forward to finishing Ziva’s story.”
Over its long run, “NCIS” has had personnel changes, such as when de Pablo replaced former female lead Sasha Alexander (currently starring on TNT’s “Rizzoli & Isles”), who played Agent Caitlin Todd.
No replacement has yet been announced, so you still have time to submit your wish list.