The second episode of the “NCIS” eleventh season is the one that fans have probably been dreading ever since the announcement that Cote de Pablo was leaving the show during the summer hiatus. The episode marked the farewell for the beloved NCIS agent Ziva David, who’s been with the show since the start of its third season.
The departure of de Pablo from the series is one that came as a huge surprise to fans of the show and probably even the show-runners themselves. You could tell it came together quite sudden by the rather awkwardly placed farewell for the character in “Past, Present, and Future.”
The episode revolves around Ziva’s partner Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly) searching for Ziva, who’s life may be in danger, in Israel, after she returned to her home country after she, DiNozzo and Timothy McGee (Sean Murray) resigned their positions with NCIS at the end of season 10. When Tony finally finds her after months of searching he finds an emotionally damaged Ziva, seemingly wanting to give up her badge to try to repair her life scarred greatly by her past – being forced to kill her terrorist brother Ari, the death of her mother, the recent death of her father, etc.
I must say that seeing an emotionally scarred Ziva David is an extremely odd sight to see, as she’s proven to be one of the toughest, if not the toughest, characters on the show throughout its run. She’s undoubtedly been the toughest female character on network television, something that has endeared her to the show’s millions of fans.
This is somewhat why her farewell felt slightly awkward, because it was us seeing such a strong character leave a show at quite possibly her weakest moment. It isn’t as if the whole scenario was implausible, it’s just that it’s not quite the way many of us imagined it. It’s very hard to imagine Ziva giving up on her job, and in some ways giving up on her family-like friends, just to come to grips with the ghosts of her past.
Ziva’s farewell did accomplish one thing really well in that it gave the show’s fans the moment that they have longed for for many years – the most anticipated kiss on network television between Ziva and Tony. It’s a truly bittersweet moment, for most fans, because they have finally gotten the moment they have always wanted between these two characters and it’s taken away from them at the very same time. Personally, I never really wanted to see a relationship between Tony and Ziva, but I did feel that the way these two parted ways was a nice moment. It was also brilliantly acted by Weatherly and de Pablo.
My biggest disappointment from the show is not getting that moment where Ziva gets to say goodbye to McGee, Abby (Pauley Perrette), Ducky (David McCallum) and especially Gibbs (Mark Harmon), that scene could’ve been a truly shining moment for this series. But, it was almost like the farewell episode tacked two different storylines together to form one episode: Tony’s search for Ziva and Gibbs’ search for the terrorist behind local bombings.
Where “NCIS” goes from here, without Ziva, should be very interesting. The show does plan on bringing in a new character at some point this season and that shall be sort of an interesting new start for the veteran show. What will really be interesting will be to see how fans react to the departure of Ziva and if it has a negative effect in this show’s ratings, which are usually around 18-19 million a week, as the most watched show on television.
It’ll certainly be a different show without the character of Ziva David, but this show is one that will definitely be able to survive the loss.
“NCIS” can be seen locally on KTHV Conway Corp. channel 11 on Tuesdays at 7 p.m.