NCIS is bracing itself for big changes as Ziva, played by Cote de Pablo, exits the show this coming season. Michael Weatherly, who plays her on and off love interest Agent DiNozzo, speaks about what will happen moving forward.
The series, which is the most popular in television, has had a 10-year reign and has undergone several changes, but losing a main character who has been around for the last 8 years is not easy to replace.
Michael Weatherly is one of the original cast members and recently spoke to TVline about the departing de Pablo and the changes the show has gone through.
“When Jenny Shepard had been killed by Russian hit men. I thought, ‘This is crazy!’ he recalls telling de Pablo. “I didn’t see this coming at all. I mean, she’s the director of NCIS!”
The show has gone through a lot of departures, not only from cast members.
“Mike Franks (killed by the Port-to-Port Killer in Season 8)…. Those were major changes,” the actor continues. “(Series creator) Don Bellisario leaving (after Season 4)? A major change. Again and again.”
Weatherly says that despite all these changes the show has survived and striven as the most watched scripted TV show.
“We have great writers and a remarkable core DNA that Bellisario created,” Weatherly says, “and somehow it’s so sturdy that it withstands all of these changes.”
As far as the departure of Cote de Pablo he doesn’t share much. “I can’t give away all the pinpoints,” Weatherly says, “but I found the first two episodes immensely satisfying. I was very surprised by the things I read in those scripts.”
Weatherly doesn’t share what the “romance” between DiNozzo and Ziva has in store as it hasn’t had resolution through the time they have been in NCIS together.
“I think that for DiNozzo and for me as an actor, that ‘holding pattern’ has been incredibly fun to play — I love working with Cote, she’s awesome — but also it’s been eight years, and we haven’t dealt with it. It will deal with it.” And with a resulting story line for Tony that his portrayer has hailed as ‘the most exciting thing I’ve heard in a long time.’ says Weatherly, “I’m looking forward to seeing what the far greater geniuses have in store.”
Season 11 of NCIS premieres on September 24 only on USA.