It’s no secret that over the course of watching our shows that we grow attached to the characters in them. We relate to them. We grow with them. We cry and laugh with and worry about them. And when we lose one, it can be heartbreaking, especially when the loss comes at a pivotal point.
NCIS revolves around a team of characters whose very lives often depend upon the bonds between them. Ziva David had spent the last 8 seasons building a seemingly unbreakable bond with the rest of the team. But that all ended at the beginning of this year’s season 11 when in an attempt to wipe the slate clean and start a fresh life, she chose to leave NCIS. This decision broke not only the heart of Tony DiNozzo, fellow NCIS agent and the man whose heart she had won, but it also was quite a blow to the fans of the show as well.
As they shared that last kiss and he did the “hardest 180” of his life, the tears on Ziva’s cheek weren’t the only ones shed. How could the writers possibly replace such a strong character? Cote De Pablo, the actress behind our beloved Ziva, had left so rather large shoes to fill.
As is rightfully so, Gibbs didn’t feel rushed to fill the spot and the team wasn’t overly welcome to those who thought they could. The empty desk was a sore spot for DiNozzo and McGee for a few episodes and those who did try to sit there were not greeted with warmth.
It wasn’t until the season’s ninth episode that we meet the new “probie” Eleanor “Ellie” Bishop. She’s working as an NSA agent who has an incredibly peculiar method of thinking. She joins up as a joint agent on a temporary basis and helps the team with a few cases. It wasn’t until five episodes later, after helping the team secure the elusive Parsa, that Bishop earns her official “Probie” title when Gibbs offers her the position on the team.
Now toward the end of the season, Bishop is still learning the rules and the team is still warming up to her; as are the fans. She’s a very different character from Ziva and it will take some time to build that bond. But the team and the fans alike have to keep in mind that Ziva had to win our hearts too. For at one time, she was replacing the beloved Kate, who was killed in the line of duty at the end of season 2.