Why Leaving ‘NCIS’ Was Cote de Pablo’s Greatest Mistake

Cote de Pablo came to NCIS after the party had already begun, and left a little bit too early. Famous for playing Ziva David in the hit primetime show, Cote de Pablo was a fan favorite amongst frequent viewers, even those initially hesitant to accept the casting decision surrounding her character.

Ziva David was a former Massad agent who – confusing American idioms while taking down bad guys with ease – retained an endearing quality that fans quickly fell in love with.

Cote de Pablo
Cote de Pablo | Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage

Resistant to vulnerability and strong (at least on the outside) in the face of adversity, the character grew to forge a father-daughter dynamic with Gibbs, a playful romance with DiNozzo, and a sibling-like relationship with Mcgee. She was a necessary ingredient to the show’s recipe. And then, she got up and left.  

Cote de Pablo has explained that her character did not receive the attention she felt Ziva deserved; from narrative complexity to explorative characterization, Cote de Pablo found it best to venture into new activities. However, based on recent indications, it seems she may have made the wrong decision.

While Cote de Pablo has starred in other works, she is still tied to Ziva and has failed to make a mark on the entertainment industry outside of this role. The question is: did Cote de Pablo make the biggest mistake of her career? Did she leave a little too early? Let’s analyze the details.

Cote de Pablo’s projects following ‘NCIS’ were major flops

After NCIS, Cote de Pablo starred in a miniseries titled The Dovekeepers. The miniseries was based on Alice Hoffman’s historical novel concerning the Siege of Masada and focuses on four women whose lives intersect during their fight for survival.

Cote de Pablo starred as Shirah and aided in the film’s usage of a uniquely female perspective; however, the story failed to take flight. With a 33% critics score and a 28% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, many considered the miniseries rather mediocre.

Though attempting to reach the heights of its biblical predecessors, the film resorted to a typical romance plotline and failed to send a strong message, as it tried to send multiple messages simultaneously. Cote de Pablo, specifically, was neither praised nor criticized; she simply failed to lift this miniseries above its poor adaptation of the source material.

Following The Dovekeepers, Cote de Pablo starred in The 33, which also opened to poor critical reviews, as many felt the film was a bit predictable and formulaic. Not to mention, Cote de Pablo’s role in this miniseries was rather small.

It’s clear that, following NCIS, Pablo failed to land roles in shows and movies anywhere near the critical reception that NCIS receives. And, as an actress with limited work before NCIS, had little to rely on when she left the show.

Cote de Pablo’s future without Ziva looks a little bumpy

According to IMDb, Cote de Pablo currently has one project in the works titled Seneca. Seneca will be about “making it big, natural disasters, and being a dad.” Given the show’s account, it looks like Cote de Pablo – since she’s not a man – will likely play a supporting role.

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If Cote de Pablo fails to snag a successful leading role – on the silver or the small screen – soon, she may fail to ever make an impact aside from NCIS. You only have so much time, and it’s been six years since she left the show.

While Cote de Pablo is working alongside Mark Harmon for MIA, she is serving as an executive producer, so this movie will fail to give any credence to the actress’s ability to take on characters outside of Ziva David successfully. Could Cote de Pablo simply be transitioning to behind-the-scenes work, or is the actress struggling to find the right door to walk through?