By Adriana Hille, EnStars | Aug 01, 2013 10:03 AM EDT
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Cote de Pablo's character Ziva on NCIS will return for the second episode of season 11, her co-stars confirmed to E! News, and they encourage viewers not to miss it.
"Even if you're a casual viewer of the NCIS, even if you've only seen one marathon on USA, this season premiere and the first couple episodes you're going to want to check out," Michael Weatherly told E! News this week.
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Weatherly, who plays Special Agent Anthony "Tony" DiNozzo on the show, also revealed that there will be a focus on his character's relationship with Ziva, and it's enticing.
"Even if you hate Tiva [Tony + Ziva], even if you love the Tiva, if you're ambivalent, it's like a big Christmas stocking on Christmas morning," he added.
De Pablo announced her departure from the CBS show earlier in July.
"I've had eight great years with NCIS and Ziva David," she said in a statement. "I have huge respect and affection for Mark [Harmon], Gary [Glasberg], Michael [Weatherly], David [McCallum], Rocky [Carroll], Pauley [Perrette], Brian [Dietzen], Sean [Murray], all of the team and CBS. I look forward to finishing Ziva's story."
The CEO of CBS made it clear that the network tried everything in its power to keep the actress on NCIS.
"We offered Cote de Pablo a lot of money, and then we offered her even more money," Leslie Moonves said during the Television Critics Association fall TV previews on Monday, according to FOX. "We really didn't want to lose her. We love her; we think she was terrific."
NCIS fans weren't the only ones shocked by de Pablo's departure, her co-stars were also surprised.
"It was huge new to us," Pauley Perrette, who plays Abby Scuito, told E! News. "I found out literally 20 minutes before it was released in the press, but we love her. She's our friend. She had a personal decision to make. Nobody wanted her to leave. There was no drama."
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