Anytime that you see a popular character leave a long-running show, there is inevitably going to be a major concern that goes along with it: Is the show really going to acknowledge it, or move forward and pretend as though nothing happened at all? Some shows, whether it be “Downton Abbey” or “Two and a Half Men,” acknowledge with some regularity that the cast is now very much different than what it once was. Meanwhile, others (see “The Office” with Steve Carell) seemed to almost immediately move forward and decided at times to act as though the man never existed in the first place.
Luckily, “NCIS” seems to be looking towards more the former strategy based on what we are hearing today from their showrunner Gary Glasberg following the exit of Cote de Pablo and the Ziva character last week. For those Ziva fans who do still plan to tune in, they want to at least see that their favorite character mattered. Having her suddenly gone with no ramifications or no changes would be too much for them to bear. Luckily, Glasberg says per TVLine that there will be a void left by her exit that the show is not going to rush to immediately fill:
“Oh, it’s very present. It’s a big part of quite a few episodes. You’ll see glances and references to the empty desk, but at the same time we try to get back to the fun and the humor and the lightness and the banter of the squad room — all the things that people like about our show. But we’re not hiding from it, it’s acknowledged.”
The same sort of thing goes for Michael Weatherly’s character of Tony, who drew some worry when a photo surfaced of him smiling on tonight’s new episode “Under the Gun.” Don’t take a facial expression as some sort of proof that he’s not hurting:
“Yes, I think Tony has changed a bit. He’s matured. He’s experienced a loss in his personal life, and I think it’s going to affect how he moves forward. It’s certainly affecting how we as writers are handling him. He’s still very much Tony — he still cracks a joke and lights up the room with a smile and has some fun, but there’s also a seriousness. There’s a step forward that has happened, and I don’t think we’re hiding from that.”
You can preview “Under the Gun” over at this link, and we’ll have some more news about the episode a little later in the day. Stay tuned.