Cote de Pablo doesn't close the door on 'NCIS' return, talks 'The Dovekeepers'

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Cote de Pablo isn’t coming back to “NCIS” but she doesn’t close the door on the possibility in the future.

During a panel with the Television Critics Association about her upcoming miniseries “The Dovekeepers,” the Chilean-born actress said a return of the former Mossad agent Ziva David could be possible “under the right circumstances.”

“I think the fact they never killed the character off is very telling,” she said, according to TV Line.

De Pablo left the hit CBS show in 2013 amid contract negotiations with the network. Her exit prompted a social media outcry from her fans who petitioned the studio to bring her back.

She said the outpouring of love and support from fans was "humbling."

“When you make decisions like this, you never expect for people to fully understand,” de Pablo added. “So it was really delicious to feel that kind of love and I’m always grateful for that.”

When asked to reflect on her exit, De Pablo said she felt her character’s departure after eight seasons was “rushed” but that she was happy with her final scene with Michael Weatherly’s Tony DiNozzo.

“I think it was rushed. I like a little kind of closure,” de Pablo said. “I think, all in all, I could not be more blessed, because I got to be with my love Michael. And, any time you have scenes with Michael and I together, there’s going to be a spark and there’s going to be real honesty. For that, I am forever grateful because there was a sense of conclusions as far as what they felt for each other.”

Since leaving the show, de Pablo said she has been working on other projects, citing the new CBS miniseries “The Dovekeepers” and the upcoming big-screen film “The 33,” a film with Antonio Banderas and Juliette Binoche about the Chilean mine disaster.

"I have been living, spending time with my family, which was very important to me," de Pablo added. "How can I tell stories if I'm not infused by life?"

De Pablo said she had no idea “The Dovekeepers,” a two-part movie produced by Roma Downey, was scheduled to debut in the time slot after the crime drama.

"Really?" de Pablo exclaimed after executive producer Downey told the Television Critics Association about the March 31 scheduling.

Downey, the former star of CBS' "Touched by an Angel," said airing "The Dovekeepers" after "NCIS" was intended to take advantage of de Pablo's outspoken base.

The hope is that de Pablo's followers will be "very noisy" in drawing attention to the movie, Downey said. The project, based on Alice Hoffman's 2011 novel of the same name, dramatizes the siege of the ancient desert fortress of Masada — now part of Israel — by Roman Empire troops. The second part airs April 1.

Downey, who has turned to creating programs with her husband, producer Mark Burnett ("Survivor," ''The Voice"), said she initiated "The Dovekeepers" after visiting Masada and reading Hoffman's novel. The couple had a TV hit with 2013's miniseries "The Bible."

She was touched by the story of a persecuted people whose "courage was greater than fear," Downey said. The TV movie, which weaves fiction around the historical event, is primarily a love story, she said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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