In a move that will surely shock fans of television's #1 scripted show, CBS has confirmed that actress Cote de Pablo will not be returning to "NCIS" for the 11th season.  She will however appear long enough for her character to be written off the show.

While most of the cast had already signed on for more seasons, de Pablo and Mark Harmon, who also acts as a Producer, were the only two to not sign on beyond the most recent season.  Harmon signed an extension to his deal back in February, but de Pablo decided to let her contract expire.  CBS issued a statement saying,

“We respect Cote’s decision, thank her for being an important part of the NCIS team, and for eight terrific years playing Ziva David”, the statement says. “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.”

Cote de Pablo joined the show at the start of the 3rd season as Mossad liason officer Ziva David, replacing Sasha Alexander's character Special Agent Caitlin Todd, who was killed off in the 2nd season finale by Ziva's brother Ari.  Alexander left the show with a similar deal as de Pablo, appearing in the first two episodes of the next season, as an imaginary version of her character appearing to the grieving characters, to finish her character's story.  In her own statement, de Pablo said,

“I’ve had 8 great years with NCIS and Ziva David. I have huge respect and affection for Mark, Gary, Michael, David, Rocky, Pauley, Brian, Sean, all of the team and CBS. I look forward to finishing Ziva’s story.”

"NCIS" averaged 22 million viewers a week, besting "Sunday Night Football" as television's most watched series.  Now the question is how the character of Ziva David will leave the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (though the 10th season ended with Ziva and the rest of Gibbs' team resigning).  Over the past 10 seasons, producers have killed off at least seven major and recurring characters, most of which were female and have lead to jokes amongst the cast about the life expectancy of new female characters on the show.

via Yahoo News