Just as fans are sad about the upcoming departure of Cote de Pablo from "NCIS," her co-stars are feeling it even more.
"It's always hard as an actor for your co-actor to be leaving because we love her and you miss them," Pauley Perrette told Yahoo! TV alongside co-star Brian Dietzen Monday's Television Critics Association summer press tour. "Your character also has to deal: Abby and Jimmy, our characters, have to deal with the loss of a co-worker too."
De Pablo decided not to sign on for Season 11, despite being offered "a lot of money" to stay on the hit CBS drama. Her character, Ziva David, will be written out sometime this fall.
"It's very emotional," Perrette said. "We love her and we all support her. It was her decision and there's nothing but love there."
The two noted the strong fan reaction to de Pablo's exit, calling "NCIS" lovers "the most amazing fans."
"I think people feel very strongly about all these things, because it is like a family," Dietzen said. "You have this paternal figure in Mark Harmon, you have this crazy aunt next to you, you have this wacky grandpa that lives downstairs with the dead bodies. And Cote's character is a part of that as well, and we're definitely going to miss her.
[Related: Everything We Know About Ziva's 'NCIS' Exit]
He added, "But you know what? The show goes on and we're going to have a hell of a lot of fun."
Of course, anytime a cast member leaves a show, it's bound to ignite some controversy. And Perrette ended up getting caught in the crossfire all because she wore a shirt reading "I ♥ My Job." She also tweeted that message:
But de Pablo supporters took those statements personally, seeing it as an indication that Perrette was criticizing her co-star for jumping ship:
@PauleyP No offence, but the message on your t shirt? very poor taste. Any other time, it would have been cool, but definitely not now.— Fernanda (@sonoyta) July 30, 2013
That negativity seems to have nearly made Perrette turn off her Twitter account:
Other fans came to Perrette's defense, noting that she's had the shirt for some time. And it was apparently made by a fan.
I love that @PauleyP has an "I Love My Job" t-shirt, it's so cool! We love that you love your job too Pauley! xo— La La La Lauren ♥ (@Griff_Megan94) July 31, 2013