RedEye

Cote de Pablo leaves 'NCIS' after eight seasons

Someone call the Mossad: Cote de Pablo is leaving "NCIS."

The Chilean-born actress has decided to call it quits after eight seasons of playing Ziva David, the Israeli agent on CBS' hit crime drama.

De Pablo will return long enough to wrap up her character's story, but she won't be staying for the rest of the show's 11th season, she and producers revealed in statements Wednesday.

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"We respect Cote's decision, thank her for being an important part of the 'NCIS' team, and for eight terrific years playing Ziva David," the network and studio wrote in a joint statement. "Cote and CBS share a great respect for the 'NCIS' audience, and we look forward to working with her and the producers on appropriate closure in this chapter of Ziva's story."

Earlier this year, Mark Harmon wrapped up a deal to stay in the starring role on "NCIS." That deal was reportedly for two more years and will pay him at least $500,000 per episode.

"NCIS" was last season's most-watched TV series, averaging more than 20 million viewers per week for original episodes.

De Pablo was brought into the show at the start of season 3, after Sasha Alexander left the show and producers killed off her character.

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De Pablo's character might have a stormy goodbye, too, if her past is any indication. A former agent of the Israeli Mossad, she was captured by Somali terrorists and rescued by Gibbs (Harmon).

"I've had 8 great years with NCIS and Ziva David," de Pablo wrote in her statement, adding that she has "huge respect and affection" for Harmon and the other cast and crew. "I look forward to finishing Ziva's story."

According to Q Score, which measures audience awareness of celebrities, de Pablo was the second-most-popular actor on TV in 2011 -- after "NCIS" costar Pauley Perrette.

What do you think of de Pablo's exit?

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Twitter: @scottcollinsLAT

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