September 10, 2013 1:41pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'NCIS' EP Promises 'Heart-Wrenching' Exit for Cote de Pablo in Letter to Fans
Two months after Cote de Pablo shocked TV insiders and NCIS fans when she announced she'd be exiting the CBS show, the executive producer behind the series has opened up about her departure.
In a heartfelt letter to fans posted via NCIS' Twitter account, executive producer Gary Glasberg writes that de Pablo's character -- Ziva David -- will receive a "heart-wrenching" farewell that promises to resolve her storyline and be a "moment in television history."
"The amazing resolution you're going to see is pretty damn heart-wrenching and we're incredibly proud of it," he wrote. "Prepare yourselves for a moment in television history. Images that will end up in the archives. I couldn't be happier with how my NCIS family stepped up and did some of the most emotional work we've ever done.
"Watch with us. Experience with us. It's okay to be sad. But, then, don’t forget what we're good at. We like to make you smile. We like to rock your world and leave you on the edge of your seat. We like to show you what the greatest team of federal agents is capable of. And all of that will happen in season 11. And, as you've come to expect with me, there will be some surprises along the way."
De Pablo announced July 10 that she would be exiting the series, which regularly draws more than 20 million viewers a week and ranks as TV's No. 1 scripted drama among total viewers. Producers will wrap up her storyline at the start of the fall season.
CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves told reporters in July that the studio -- NCIS is produced by CBS Television Studios -- did everything it could to keep de Pablo on the series.
"We offered Cote de Pablo a lot of money -- then we offered her even more money," Moonves said. "We really didn't want to lose her; we love her. We think she's terrific. We obviously were in discussions, and ultimately she decided she didn't want to do the show. It was her decision. We don't like losing anybody. We did everything humanly possible, and we exhausted every opportunity."
NCIS returns Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 8 p.m. on CBS. Read the full letter, below.