NCIS Boss Opens Up About Cote de Pablo’s Surprising Decision (‘I Really Wasn’t Planning for This’), Hints at ‘Romantic’ Exit Storyline

See on Scoop.itIn and About the News

As caught off-guard as he was byCote de Pablo‘s decision to walk away from NCIS after eight seasons as Ziva David, showrunner Gary Glasberg recognizes the seriousness of the situation and as such hopes he will do the character justice during her swan song.

On Monday night at CBS’ Television Critics Assoc. summer press tour party, Glasberg spoke with TVLine about the “very” surprising news, how he reacted to it and what “Tiva” fans can expect when Season 11 gets underway Sept. 24.

TVLINE| How surprised were you by Cote’s decision?

I was very, very surprised. I think it was you that I told at some point, that I was “very confident” that this was going to work out. And I was very confident. This is not what I was planning on. As [CBS Corp. CEO Les] Moonves said earlier [Monday], everyone really wanted this to work. She’s a part of this family and a part of this team, and the efforts were being made by everyone.

TVLINE | Was it, like, a matter of Cote wanting to re-up for just one year versus multiple years…?

It wasn’t even the specifics. It was clear at the end of the day that this was her decision. And we have to respect it. Someone asked me if I was planning for this, but I really wasn’t, so basically the minute that this became real, I had to throw out a lot of what I was planning to do and start from scratch. But what came out of it is a really terrific [season-opening] two-parter that I think people are going to be really blown away by.

TVLINE | You previously said that we would find out what Ziva and the others were up to during the four-month time jump. Will Ziva’s story now be different?

Basically, the Ziva story sort of intertwines with where we left Gibbs off at the end of the season, with the sniper rifle. That whole story arc unfolds through the first episode, and then Cote/Ziva plays very prominently in the second one. There’s a really significant Tony/Ziva payoff — everything I hope the Tiva fans have been waiting for.

TVLINE | Oh, but I can’t imagine it’s much better than heartbreak for those fans and for Tony.

It informs her in ways that I think the fans will enjoy. It gives us some insight into this decision that she’s going to make. It’s exciting. And it’s romantic.

TVLINE | Is Tony the first person she shares this “decision” with?

Oh yeah. Look, it’s a storyline that I took very, very seriously — I felt like I had to, for the fans. I recognize what this means to them, and I recognize what her absence is going to mean. Someone asked me what I plan beyond this, and I can’t replace her. I can’t even use the word “replacement” for Ziva and what she means to this team. The only thing I can try and do down the road is come up with another character who feels organic and fills a void of some kind.

TVLINE | Because at the end of the day, Gibbs’ team will be down a man.

Exactly. That desk, at the end of the day, is going to be empty.

TVLINE | So, what are we talking as far as the timeframe for filling that void? November sweeps? February…?

It’s going to be a little while, and I really don’t know who that character is yet. But that’s something we’re talking about right now.

Want more scoop on NCIS, or for any other show? Email and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

Marilyn Armstrong‘s insight:

We are going to miss her a lot. Big NCIS fans here. BIG.

See on

Another season gone

So many hopes and dreams died and I’m not particularly optimistic that anything better — or even as good — will be offered. Still, one lives in hope. Or anyway, I live in hope. Takes the despair out of watching television. Some of the good ones from last year survived. but overall, the dumbing down of television is relentless. I am convinced that eventually, any semblance of intelligent series will be eliminated. Part of the whole cynicism thing. If I like the show I can almost guarantee it won’t survive its first year.

Picture 984

Last September slipped into mid-October when I originally wrote this and we settled into watching what we could find that we didn’t hate. A few things we liked. Some stuff, we almost liked and though if it got a chance, it might just make it. Mostly, it didn’t. Here and there, a few bright spots remain.

This author reserves the right to change her mind at any time without warning. And without explaining herself. This is about network television series. Not even a hint of life and death. TELEVISION. Are we all clear on this? No ranting or swearing. I’m not in a tolerant mood. Find somewhere else to fight. Just so you know.

What happened?

Blue Bloods – Renewed

Favorite after NCIS, the show sometimes reminds me of the old Cosby show, except that the kids are adults and they’re all cops. It isn’t a unique concept, but it’s well done. Tom Selleck has matured and makes the kind of Police Commissioner every large city wishes it had. For that matter, he’s the father everyone wishes they had. Granddad, the old school commissioner from days gone by adds a bit of spice. The adult children are each different, ranging from obsessive and a bit deranged (in a good way), to snarky,  sarcastic and some might even say bitchy. Yet they manage to be believable as they hang together in crisis and snipe at each other the rest of the time. The next generation is growing up. With a little luck, this show will last. That the family doesn’t always get along really helps keep the series from getting too treacly. Against all odds, the show made it through another season and will return next year. Yay.

Actor Michael Chiklis

Actor Michael Chiklis (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Vegas – Cancelled

It was good. It had drama, decent scripts, good acting. So they cancelled it.  With Dennis Quaid and Michael Chiklis as the two oppositional forces, it worked. Good acting and a scripts weren’t enough.

Nashville – Renewed

I don’t much care because we stopped watching it a while back. It had potential, but slid immediately into soap opera . Nashville shows the price you pay for glamor. It posed the bigger question that no one can answer: How much is fame worth to you if it will surely eat you and spit you out in pieces? Great premise. Pity about the turgid writing and acting and the phony sub-plots.

The Mentalist – Renewed

Back again. Entertainment on the slightly heavy side of light. It’s fun to watch, usually, and maybe, with a little help from a few hallucinations, the show will finally move on from Red John into some other storyline. Enough Red John. Time for something else. I’m really done with this storyline. I’m at the tooth-gnashing stage, so writers, get it together.

Private Practice – Cancelled (and none too soon)

We stopped watching it last season but gave it another try this year. The intricately melodramatic personal lives of doctors was annoying last year but became depressing this year. Is that an improvement? I couldn’t see any reason to watch it. It was no longer interesting, funny, or intriguing. And it wasn’t going anywhere but downhill.

Grey’s Anatomy – Renewed (why?)

A notch above the now defunct Private Practice only because the actors are better (sometimes), but in my unenlightened opinion, the series’ melodramatic over-acting is boring. Or ridiculous. Another prime time soap. Sandra Oh was the bright spot and she was mostly MIA. Add a heavy dose of death and misery and you have a genuinely missable viewing experience. Cross it off my list. Again.

CSI – Renewed

Danson brought new life to this moribund series. It’s an improvement. Still not a thrill a minute or as quirky and interesting as it was with Peterson, but it has moved along and shows signs of new life. It’s still limping, but it has usable legs again. Maybe with a couple of new cast members and clever scripts, it’ll find a new lease on life.

Person of Interest – Renewed

It is what it is. Against all odds, they made the characters more interesting, given them back stories and a hint of depth. Maybe season 3 will be their breakthrough. They’ve got the pieces in place. Let’s see how they play them.

Criminal Minds – Renewed

This show needs an injection of something. Ideas? Better scripts? Originality? Snappier dialogue? Less personal angst? Nice it’s been renewed for another year, but it has gotten so predictable  — and so grim. We can sing along with the dialogue on shows we haven’t seen before. Not a good sign. Unless it perks up, I doubt it has long to live. It’s become … well … dull. Yawn.

Bones – Renewed

They got past baby and went back to work. For which I am grateful. This show really doesn’t work as a domestic comedy. Without the bones, gore, gristle and goo, it was merely silly. Temperance grew a bit this season … as have Booth, Cam and the rest of the cast. Overall, Bones has better scripts than most network series and that’s what makes it worth watching.

NCIS – Renewed

Leroy Jethro Gibbs

This show remains the highlight of our viewing week. Leroy Jethro Gibbs and crew are our light in the long dark tunnel that is network television. The news that Mark Harmon signed for 2 more years is heartening. We are grateful. David McCallum is back and good as ever. 

Major Crimes – Cancelled

The Closer spinoff wasn’t as good as The Closer, but it was pretty good and had potential, but it’s gone. Bye bye.

Law & Order: SVU – Renewed

I still think this series is over. We stopped watching it regularly three season ago, even intermittently the season before last. Talk about predictable. Wrap it up and move on.

Thirty Rock – Finished

It’s was fun while it lasted, but it really was over. Sometimes, it’s time to turn out the lights and go home.

Elementary – Renewed

I like it. Interesting characters, good scripts, not always predictable. It might even continue to improve. Isn’t that a concept!

The Good Wife – Renewed

Through its early seasons, the show moved forward. Characters developed, plots got complicated, but situations resolved and didn’t get stuck. Now, though, they are in a cycle of annoying characters, irritating yet strangely tense situations. Renewed or not, it annoys me. Everyone on the show annoys me.

In summary

Maybe there will be more good stuff coming up. I’m grateful to movie channels and especially Turner Classics, as well as the World Series for keeping us from becoming comatose.

We need a breakout season on television. It’s been too long since there’s been anything to get excited about. It’s not as bad as it could be, but that’s not saying much.

Renewed or Canceled? Your TV Cheat Sheet on the Fate of Your Favorite Shows!

See on Scoop.itMovies From Mavens

Spoiler Chat

TV, you fickle, fickle mistress.

There’s been a whole lot of small-screen news going down this week (And a lot of Diet Coke going down our throats as a direct result—but we digress!), with networks renewing and canceling shows left and right before touting their new series and lineups at their upfront presentations in New York City.

To help you celebrate or mourn the loss of a beloved show, we’ve compiled a list of which series the five big networks renewed and canceled from the 2012-13 TV season!


Renewed: ScandalGrey’s AnatomyRevengeOnce Upon a TimeCastleModern FamilySuburgatoryThe MiddleThe NeighborsLast Man Standing and Nashville

Canceled Happy EndingsBody of ProofMalibu CountryPrivate Practice (final season), Red WidowThe Family Tools, How to Live With Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life)Don’t Trust the B— in Apartment 23,Zero HourLast Resort and 666 Park Avenue

Undecided: Mistresses (premieres May 27)


Renewed: CSINCISNCIS: LAThe Big Bang Theory,Two and a Half MenElementaryHow I Met Your Mother(renewed for a final season), Criminal MindsThe Amazing RaceBlue BloodsHawaii Five-0The Good WifeThe Mentalist, Mike & Molly,Person of Interest2 Broke Girls and Survivor 

Canceled: CSI: NYVegasGolden BoyRules of EngagementMade in JerseyPartnersand The Job

The CW

Renewed: ArrowBeauty and the Beast,The Vampire DiariesSupernaturalThe Carrie DiariesNikita (a shortened final season), Hart of Dixie and America’s Next Top Model

Canceled: Emily Owens, M.D.Cult andGossip Girl (final season) and 90210 (final season)


Renewed: BonesGlee (renewed for two seasons), The FollowingNew GirlThe Mindy ProjectRaising HopeThe X Factor,American IdolKitchen Nightmares, MasterChef and Hotel Hell

Canceled: TouchBen & Kate and The Mob Doctor

Undecided: The Goodwin Games (premieres May 20)


Renewed: Parks and RecreationChicago FireLaw & Order: SVUCommunityGrimm,ParenthoodThe Voice, Celebrity Apprentice and Revolution

Canceled: Smash, The Office (final season), 30 Rock (final season), Go OnThe New NormalWhitneyUp All NightRock Center with Brian WilliamsAnimal PracticeDo No HarmDeceptionReady For Love1600 Penn and Guys With Kids

Undecided: Hannibal

Marilyn Armstrong‘s insight:

What’s still there, what’s gone. Survivors and losers. Not necessarily any logic or reason, either.

See on

The Guest Star Did It

I hate to sound like everyone else, but television is boring. Soporific put-me-to-sleep dull. There used to be a few shows each night we followed, but so many have been taken off the air or deteriorated to unwatchability there remain but a few. Every year, we start the fall season hopeful there will be something worth watching. Perhaps a couple of interesting series, maybe a comedy. If we are lucky, the powers-that-be won’t have retired the few shows we watch that have survived several seasons.

Killing Harry’s Law for the sin of appealing to the wrong demographic (namely us) was a blow to the heart. We have since realized that killing that show was part of NBC’s master plan to destroy the network. They are doing a splendid job. For the first time, NBC has come in fifth in the ratings after Spanish-language Univision. I think the only NBC shows we still watch are Leno (which they will probably kill because we enjoy it) and occasionally Law and Order: Special Victim’s Unit which we view erratically. It’s more a desperation move when everything is in reruns. It too is probably a rerun, but we haven’t seen it, so it’s new to us.

It’s not impossible to write new material, but it takes an effort. Originality is nearly extinct. I’m shocked when I don’t know what’s going to happen next or who did what. It’s a rare treat to be surprised by a script.

NCIS: Shumate

The other night, Garry commented that whatever it was — a new show and no, I do not remember the name — we’d seen it before. Being as this was a premier, you would think they might consider writing an original script for it. You would be wrong.

“We’ve seen everything before,” I said.

“We’re old,” he said.

“We may be old, but that’s not the problem. New shows are identical to the old shows. I think they ARE the old shows. They reuse scripts, just change a couple of names and places. We need to get our heads right. Stop expecting originality and try to appreciate whether or not they do the same old stuff well.”

“It would save us from disappointment.”

“Yup. We need to align our expectations with reality.”

“Yeah. Lower our entertainment requirements. Uh, how much more can we lower them? They’re pretty much at the bottom already.” And so they are.

There are still a few shows we really enjoy. NCIS, long may it reign, we watch both the new shows and reruns. It’s our entertainment fallback position.

We watch White Collar. It wins a prize for being the only cop show that doesn’t only solve murders. The show deals with crimes in which no one got killed! What creative genius thought of that?

Elementary has been  pleasantly unpredictable and has, in return, won our loyalty.

Anger Management is actually funny. Laugh-out-loud funny. Wow. A funny comedy! A startling idea I thought the networks had abandoned in favor of reality shows. It has been a long time since a sitcom was anything other than insipid and insulting to what’s left of our so-called intelligence.

Our Friday night fix is Blue BloodsTom Selleck alone is worth your time. There are a couple of other shows that occasionally aren’t completely predictable (I can’t think of them off-hand which probably speaks volumes), but for the most part, we know what’s going to happen on any show from the opening scene. The credits are enough to give away the story most of the time. The guest star did it. Why else would he or she be on the show?

It’s not impossible to write original material, but it does require a willingness to make an effort at original thought and a committment from networks to let a show stay on the air long enough to develop an audience. A lot of the shows that have become long-term favorites — like NCIS — took several seasons to find an audience. Had MASH come on the air today, it wouldn’t have lasted a single season. They’d have pulled it for not being an instant hit.


Of the top 20 shows that are series, not specials, we watch four series regularly: NCIS, Blue Bloods, Elementary and Criminal Minds. We watch Person of Interest most of the time and Vegas sometimes. That is six of the top 20. The rest of the “top rated shows” we don’t watch at all. This doesn’t bother the networks because we are not part of the sought-after 18 to 45 demographic. So even when, as happened with Harry’s Law, a show is a hit with our group, it gets taken off the air anyway because we don’t count. If we didn’t watch Leno, I’d have boycotted NBC, but they don’t need our help. They’re self-destructing just fine.

Requiring every show to be a sure thing, to be a hit in fewer than half a dozen shows, kills any hope of creativity. An unwillingness to take chances has so completely taken over the entertainment industry I can only wonder if they will bother to produce new shows a few years from now. They can go to all reruns all the time. It would save a great deal of money and it’s entirely about the bottom line, is it not? Whether or not viewers enjoy shows apparently has little to do with programming.

Not merely are producers boring viewers into a stupor, but networks are making themselves irrelevant. How come any average person can see what’s going on but network executives seem oblivious? It is difficult to fathom.

Ultimately, we will stop trying to make sense of it and seek entertainment elsewhere. We are doing that, for the most part, anyhow. We watch more reruns than new shows. We watch more movies than series. We don’t rely on offerings by any of the networks, though when they give us something to watch, we do give it a whirl. But they aren’t trying to keep our loyalty. They’ve made it clear they don’t care about us, so it’s hard to care about them.

There are many more entertainment choices today than were available even a year or two ago. Even more options will be available soon. If ever an industry seemed hell-bent on suicide, network television is it.

Gazing through from the other side with a British accent

It’s 5 hours later in London than in New England. I was reminded of this today because a few minutes after 4 in the afternoon, I got almost 400 hits from England on a blog I wrote Last September.

The post is about the première episode of this season of the CBS series “Criminal Minds.” For those of you who have never watched the show, it is based on the FBI‘s Behavioral Analysis Unit based in Quantico, Virginia.

I wrote the original post on September 26, 2012, which was when the première episode for this season of “Criminal Minds” aired in the United States. For some reason, that post hit the top of Google’s search engine and has stayed there ever since.

The series supposedly portrays the FBI’s best and brightest. The words “gazing through from the other side” were left at a crime scene and in the show, the team can’t find any reference to those words anywhere in the virtual universe. Of course the first thing I did after they said they couldn’t find it was type the words into Google and hit “Enter.” Up came the song, the lyrics, the group … and it took me perhaps 10 seconds.

Apparently the same thing happened today in England when the show aired for the first time. Everyone watched the show, heard the line, grabbed their tablet or laptop, Googled the phrase … and found me.


I realize it’s TV, not the real FBI, but surely even the fake FBI can do a simple Google search. My granddaughter was doing Google searches before she finished first grade, so it is hard to believe a television show would portray federal agents as less computer savvy than a 6-year-old.

It had been an unremarkable day, even a bit slow. I usually get most of my hits in the evening, so when I looked at my site in mid afternoon and saw I had around 140 hits, it seemed normal.

A screenshot of the BAU Team on the jet.

When I went back to look at my site a bit after 4 in the afternoon, I had gotten almost 600 hits, the vast majority from Great Britain for that same post about “Criminal Minds.” I may not be the sharpest tack in the tool box, but I deduced today was the British première of the show. I was so sure I didn’t even bother to check until an hour ago when I Googled “criminal minds UK première” and it came up as 28 January 2013 at 9pm — 4pm my time.

That little post, written between commercial breaks, has been my all-time most popular post. It isn’t my best work. It isn’t even close to my best. I’ve posted hundreds of better pieces, but none ever got such a big response. It makes me think about why I’m blogging. I want to be read, but it would be nice to be recognized for work of which I’m proud. Regardless, my most popular stuff is never my best. Sometimes, it isn’t even mine — it’s a reblog. That hurts.

When I get responses to posts on which I worked hard, it makes me happy. Responses from people who “get me” are gratifying. The only thing that could make it better would be money. Feel free to send cash or checks. I’m sorry, but I don’t accept credit cards.

Slaughter in a quiet suburb

Yesterday, while putting together awards, a too-long deferred project, I happened to click onto WBZ radio, Boston‘s CBS affiliate. The events in Newtown were just being broadcast. They didn’t know exactly how many children and adults had died. The massacre had just ended — to the degree that such tragedies really ever end. I’m sure that for all the families who lost loved ones, it will never end. There’s no “over” for the slaughter of innocents.

This is the kind of horror story that leaves you with questions that can’t be answered. Even if you know everything there is to know, you still couldn’t make sense of it because it doesn’t make sense and can’t make sense. There is nothing sane, sensible, reasonable or explicable about it. What could possibly make someone — anyone — think murdering children is an acceptable or sane response to anything? No matter what dark secrets or strange thoughts are tangled in the head of the kid who took all those lives … nothing makes it more understandable because our minds reject any answer. There is no reason good enough. Nothing makes it comprehensible nor should it.

I can and will say that had the shooter not had guns, this would NOT have happened.

I do not care how treasured our “rights to bear arms” is to Americans. This is exactly what is wrong with having guns, so many guns, in so many hands. However true it is that guns don’t shoot themselves, the fact is that if they were less accessible to everyone and there were more controls on them to make sure that those who own them understand the responsibility that comes with owning deadly weapons — like the need to keep them out of irresponsible hands — many deaths would not occur. If the same young man had to take whatever weird revenge he sought with a bat or even a knife, he would have been stopped long before the body count had grown so godawful huge.


Morons at play

Guns don’t kill people all by themselves, but in the hands of people, guns do a lot more damage than the same person could do without guns. These were legal, registered guns.

Why a kindergarten teacher had an arsenal at home where she also had one (more?) mentally ill children is another one of those questions that can’t be answered. Personally I think if all guns disappeared tomorrow and we were reduced to throwing rocks at each other, it would be a better world. Since that’s not about to happen, at the very least, regulating guns so that those who own them are required to keep track of them (how many guns just “disappear” only to reappear as the weapon at a crime scene?), some degree of mental stability has to be established before being allowed to own them, anyone who owns guns has appropriate means to secure them and knows how to properly maintain them … these are minimal sensible requirements. Soldiers aren’t just handed weapons to use indiscriminately. They are taught how to use them, maintain them, and woe to any soldier who just happens to “lose” his weapon.

Yet in the private sector, most states have no requirements other than your ability to fill out a form and wait a few days. Most illegal guns didn’t start out that way, either. They were legal when they were bought … but they roamed to other pastures. If there are simply fewer guns and those who have them are required to account for their whereabouts on a regular basis, secure them when not in use … in short, to be at least as responsible with their guns as they are with their cars for which you are required to take a test, have a licence and registration, and maintain insurance … there would be fewer horrors like that which took place in a quiet Connecticut suburb.

How can we allow mass murder by deranged gunmen and then turn around and say we don’t need gun control? I actually saw posts on Facebook blaming it on not having enough guns. So, now we should arm children so they can shoot each other in schoolyard disputes? That’s your answer? I saw other posts pointing out that we’ve banned school prayer. And you figure that a prayer in the morning would have prevented this tragedy? Really? Has prayer prevented war? Genocide? Plague? Not that I’ve noticed.


God gave us brains to use. God gave us a conscience to guide us.

In all ten of God’s commandments … nor in anything that Jesus said … is there anything indicating that good people should own weapons. Quite the opposite, actually. Our constitution says that our citizenry is allowed to maintain militia and guns to protect the population, not that ever Tom, Dick, and Jane can have a personal arsenal to use as he or she feels inclined, with no restrictions, no oversight, not even an insurance policy.

It’s outrageous and it’s wrong. If we don’t start to use brains instead of that knee jerk reaction that “Oh my God, the government won’t let me buy an assault weapon! That’s outrageous!” there will inevitably be more of these mornings where families are burying their dead and wondering how it happened. If you want to know how stupid people really are, check out this disgusting website. If you suspected we let insane idiots own arsenals, this website will confirm your worst fears.

It happened because a mentally ill kid was able to get his hands on guns and instead of acting out in a non-lethal way, he instead murdered his family and all those other people too. That’s what happened. Why did it happen? Because we didn’t stop him, that’s why.

Back in the city again …

Before we became country mice, we were city rats. Garry lived in Boston, downtown in Government Center, for 20 years, then another 10 in Roxbury. I lived in Jerusalem for 9 years, Boston for 3, then Roxbury (which is really part of Boston) for 10 … and then we took our show on the road and moved out here.

It is a bigger different than mere geography. It’s a completely different ambiance, a different texture. Ironically, although the air is cleaner, almost completely free of industrial pollutants, it is thick with pollen and dust. My asthma is far worse out here in the country among the trees and grasses than it ever was in town with the car fumes and chimney soot and all. That, and of course all the dog hair we have in the air and everywhere.

It’s pretty out here. We’ve got the river and the canal, waterfalls everywhere you look. Autumn, when we don’t get rained out, is glorious and you can stop at farm stands and get fresh organic veggies and fruits any time they are in season. We’ve got cows and horses, goats and a dizzying array of wildlife.

Deer, raccoon, the cheekiest chipmunks you’ve ever met … and then there are bats, rats, an infinite number of field mice. A bobcat with glow-in-the-dark eyes and coyotes that look like big friendly dogs. Nasty fishers with coats like mink and when the bobcat hasn’t eaten them all, rabbits. Squirrels, but fewer than there used to be before the bobcats. They are small but mighty hunters.

Irony again: the biggest, nastiest raccoon I ever met was on Beacon Hill, in our back walled garden. He was big, fat, and he wasn’t taking any crap from me. He informed me that the back patio belonged to him and I was disinclined to argue the point.

I never went back there again. At least the raccoons around here stay in their own part of town, or woods.