As most fans know, Cote de Pablo's eight-year run on "NCIS" concludes in the second episode of the show's eleventh season, so it was particularly cruel of the producers to not even show her in last week's season premiere.
But the show made up for it with Episode 2 Tuesday night. It was everything fans of Tiva (the couple name of Tony DiNozzo and Ziva David) could hope for. Mostly. Tony spends months tracking down Ziva (while Gibbs and the rest of NCIS are looking for a... oh, who cares — we only want to know about Tiva!), learning about her history (as a child, she wanted to be a ballerina not, as we all assumed, a ninja), and the guilt she's carrying, not for the people she's killed, but for the loved ones those people left behind.
And though Ziva herself didn't put in an appearance until the 32-minute mark, in the words of a wise woman, it's in his kiss (that's where it is).
The good news is Ziva didn't die; she's on a personal journey "honoring Gibbs," as she said. But the door is still open for her to guest star down the road. Of course, fans of the popular character and her never-quite relationship with Tony were still heartbroken. The "T" half of Tiva (actor Michael Weatherly) did what he could to make it easier, posting photos live during the East Coast airing.
And aside from one possible fatality...
If Tony and Ziva kiss tonight I will explode !— Jαнℓєєℓ Cℓαякє™ (@iJayJay_7) October 2, 2013
... fans took de Pablo's departure well, exhibiting all the classic signs of grief.
New #NCIS Omg... I hope the thing about this being Ziva's last episode is a rumor!!! Everybody loves Ziva!— Katelyn Kluk (@KatelynKluk) October 2, 2013
#NCIS WE ALREADY KNOW SHE ISNT DEAD. JUST GET TO THE PART WHERE TONY AND ZIVA KISS.— Sarah A. Fox (@sarahfox2016) October 2, 2013
god fricking dammit this show better not end in sydney's tears or else sydney isn't watching any more— s(ix days)ydney (@menofsweaters) October 2, 2013
I JUST WANT ZIVA & TONY TO KISS ALREADY IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK #NCIS— Kristina Pagano (@KristinaaPagano) October 2, 2013
Knowing Ziva leaves after this episode of NCIS is depressing. I've lost all interest in this show. #fanlost :(— Jen (@jencristalli) October 2, 2013
And finally, acceptance:
Goodbye Ziva. Goodbye Cote. Thank you for everything you have given me the last 8 years. I hope you do big things. #zivasfarewell— CoteDePerfect❤ (@Waterrmelonn) October 2, 2013
For a very small minority, this is a good thing. For those wanting a little more "CI" (criminal investigating) and a little less "S" (smooching) in their "NCIS," this may work out. For now. Emily Wickersham ("Sopranos") will be introduced as Bishop, a possible recurring character, in November. Producers are, no doubt, hoping you'll love Bishny (Toshop? Bishozzo? Jethop?!). In the meantime, if you're still grieving, start petitioning for CBS to release this footage:
"NCIS" airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on CBS.