'NCIS' Star Cote de Pablo Teases What to Expect From Ziva's Exit

Now that Cote de Pablo's second run on NCIS as Special Agent Ziva David is coming to a close, fans of the longrunning CBS procedural are curious as to how her story will be wrapped up — including whether or not her former love, Anthony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly) will make a surprise return. De Pablo spoke with Entertainment Tonight on the set of the series about her two-episode arc that kicked off on Tuesday night.

"It's a different walk away and I'll leave it at that," de Pablo said. "It's a beautiful walk away."

"I hoped that at some point something like this could happen and it's just so the stars aligned and here I am with this guy," she said before giving co-star Mark Harmon a big, happy hug. "I said, 'Give me a really good reason to come back.'"

Harmon is also thrilled to have his old friend back, saying, "You forget the energy she brought and how special this character is in many ways and how, in so many ways, it completes the show."

De Pablo previously told ET in September that she was so grateful and excited to be back, and hoped for one last scene with Weatherly.

"When Michael and I talk, and we talk very often, we laugh and we say, 'Oh my god, do you think these characters will ever see each other again?' And the answer is always, yes, we're just wondering where and when," she said at the time. "But these are questions you have to ask the writers. You have to ask Michael. It's not just a Cote question, because most of these decisions are not made by me. We're waiting for the proper platform and a nice storyline, and I'm crossing my fingers it happens. We're both open to it and we'll see what happens. It's a matter of schedules and many factors; many things have to be factored in for that equation to actually become real."

As for giving de Pablo that "really good reason to come back," executive producer Steven D. Binder previously told ET that "the story needed to be something that merited the return of this character and wasn't just a cheap publicity shot."

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"We, as a staff, spent quite a bit of time trying to find a story that fit. We wanted it to be full," he explained. "We wanted to use the show's DNA, something that touched on Cote's entire run on the show -- from the circumstances of her first arriving to thins that happened with the character. We wanted to use that as the raw material. We had one final meeting with Cote where we discussed these things and whether it was something that she was interested in, and you know the answer to that."

De Pablo's arc on NCIS will wrap up when new episodes return on Tuesday, Jan. 7 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.