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The Ultimate Ziva Episode Of NCIS

The CBS crime drama "NCIS," currently in its 19th season, is the rare spin-off that outlasted its parent show, "JAG," which ran for 10 seasons. "NCIS" has been on the air since 2003 and spawned three offshoot series of its own. The original series follows the work of the fictional Naval Criminal Investigative Service, led by Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon) until Harmon effectively left the show earlier this season.

Many of Gibbs' team members have come and gone over the years, including Agents Abby Sciuto (Pauley Perrette), Anthony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly), and Ziva David (Cote de Pablo). Sciuto appeared in the first 15 seasons and DiNozzo the first 13, but Agent David had a more complicated character arc. The tough and fearless former Mossad agent uses her experience with the Israeli special forces to become one of the most valuable and effective members of the NCIS team, but disappears in Season 11 and is presumed dead by DiNozzo and Gibbs in Season 13.

De Pablo chose to walk away from the show on her own. CBS CEO Les Moonves said: "We offered Cote de Pablo a lot of money. And then we offered her even more money. We really didn't want to lose her; we love her, she was terrific... ultimately she decided that she didn't want to do the show. It was purely her decision." De Pablo also chose to return in Season 17, giving her a chance to get closure for herself and her character.

Ziva David's final NCIS appearance was emotional for both the character and the actor

In Season 16, it is revealed that Ziva David is alive, and she returns early in Season 17 for several episodes, with her final appearance coming in Episode 11, "Into the Wind." David delays flying to Paris to be reunited with DiNozzo and their daughter to instead help Gibbs find a kidnapped boy. She shows rare vulnerability to her supervisor on their last day of work together, telling him, "We have suffered more broken hearts than most, Gibbs. Enough to make us afraid to ever open them again." 

Her admissions of anxiety about going to Europe lead to some uncharacteristically raw and frank emotional moments for David. She tells Gibbs, "I have spent years looking over my shoulder. I'm like a combat vet trying to return to some sense of normal, as a mother, as a partner... what if I'm too damaged to go back to who I was?" But it seems to be the actor speaking when David tells Gibbs, "things come full circle... it's hard to believe it's all coming to an end." 

The clearly genuine affection between actors is apparent in the show's final scene as they say their goodbyes, and the sly wink she gives Gibbs as the elevator doors close behind her leaves open a possible return for David. But if that never happens, at least now both the actor and the character have satisfying ends to their time on "NCIS."