NCIS Boss on the "Challenge" of Ziva's Exit and "Very Positive" Reaction to Bishop

Emily Wickersham, Cote de Pablo | Photo Credits: Cliff Lipson/CBS

It's no secret that NCIS got off to a bumpy start this season — at least behind the scenes — after the sudden and unexpected departure of star Cote de Pablo. However, now that the show was officially introduced new addition Emily Wickersham, showrunner Gary Glasberg is confident it's smooth sailing from here.

"It was a challenge. The way that this whole season unfolded was a bit of a surprise for many of us," he told reporters at Wednesday's Television Critics Association winter TV previews. "To suddenly lose a character that has been a part of this show for nine years is significant."

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Glasberg said he knew right away that he would wanted to "do something different" when it came time to craft Ziva's replacement. "I wanted it to feel incredibly different, but not change the chemistry and the mix of what makes NCIS work," he said. "Bishop is different. She comes at things differently. She handles herself differently."

Glasberg only had praise for Wickersham, who he said has brought "all kinds of layers" to the character of Ellie Bishop. "I'm really excited about what she brings to the table, how it changes things," he said. "The actors are excited. It opened all kinds of doors for us."

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Although writing Ziva out was difficult, Glasberg said he and the writers have enjoyed developing a new character this far into the show's run. "It's a process and it's been fun for us as writers to figure out how to do this 11 seasons into the show," he said.

Glasberg is also excited about where things are going because of the fan reaction to Bishop thus far. "Overall, it's been very positive," he said. "I know people have a  tremendous connection to the Ziva character, and we all did, but shows evolve and change, and things move on and that's where we are. I couldn't be happier with our choice."

NCIS airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on CBS.

(Full disclosure: is owned by CBS.)

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