When The Ones We Love Go Away, What's Left?
film / tv / lists / guides / news / love / celeb / video / think pieces / staff / podcasts / web culture / politics / dc / snl / netflix / marvel / cbr

When The Ones We Love Go Away, What's Left?

By Mike Roorda | Think Pieces | August 2, 2013 | Comments ()


It’s been a tough couple of days for some of the pretend family and friends we spend time with on a nearly weekly basis. We’ve all heard, I’m sure, about the impending departures on “Parks and Recreation” as Rob Lowe and Rashida Jones won’t be returning after the 13th episode of the coming sixth season. It’s very sad.

In even sadder news it was also announced this week that Cote de Pablo will not be returning to “NCIS” for the upcoming eleventh season. Wait … Where are you … Come back! I’ve got more things to say! I know, I know. I’m not supposed to like “NCIS” because it’s a show that your grandparents watch and it’s super corny and has the depth of a muddy puddle. Truth be told, the last few seasons haven’t been very good. It never was a great show but generally the character interactions were interesting enough to keep me vaguely entertained as I half watched while shoveling dinner into my face on the couch. The interaction that I tuned in for most frequently, often pausing between bites to actually pay attention, was Ziva’s non-relationship relationship with Tony. Did they or did they not sleep together in Paris that one time? (Answer: They shared a bed for sure and then both lied to Gibbs about it later, meaning they felt guilty, meaning they totally did the no-pants-dance.) Will Tony ever be able to help Ziva get over her daddy issues? (No.) Will Tony ever get over his issues long enough to realize he and Ziva could make beautiful, sarcastic assassin babies together? (Not so far.)

Weighing heavily on me is the fact that the writers on “NCIS” take a special glee in writing death scenes for anyone ballsy to walk away from one of the remaining cash cows on CBS. When Lauren Holly, who played NCIS Director Jenny Shepard, left the cast she got shot up in a bar for some reason that I immediately forgot. When Sasha Alexander who played Agent Caitlyn Todd (and Tony’s OG romantic foil) decided to leave, they killed her cruelly. She dives in front of Agent Gibbs to protect him from a bullet and goes down hard. But it’s cool! She’s OK! She stands up and looks around and “whew close one” right before BLAMMO. Headshot. *

What I’m saying is, I don’t want Ziva to go out like that. Please, writers of “NCIS,” let’s not do that to the best looking Mossad agent I’ve ever seen. Firstly, because she’s an ex Mossad agent. A whirling dervish of guns, and death, and pretty decent fight scenes. Secondly, because they’ve got the perfect out. One of Gibb’s rules is that you can’t have a relationship with a coworker. So, lets get Ziva and Tony together finally, have Gibbs find out and then Ziva gets reassigned to another DC office so that she and Tony can make those killer babies we were just talking about.

Also, with Ziva out of the picture, I’m not sure I’ve got much more incentive to keep watching. Yes, there are other characters and other arcs to follow. I’m just not sure I want to. On the reals, I’ve been kind of looking for a reason to abandon the show, and this may be my safe out. Next time someone brings it up at the local convalescent home I’ll be able to honestly say “No, sorry, I haven’t seen that episode. I stopped watching when Ziva and Tony eloped” and that’ll be a totally legit reason and I won’t have to play dodge canes.

On the other side of the coin, I’m pretty sure that I’m going to stick with “Parks and Rec” even though they’re losing some of the supporting cast. It’s true that Chris Traeger and Ann Perkins were characters that just seemed to fit with the rest of the “Parks and Rec” cast, both providing their own moments of insight and eliciting those moments from others. (Seriously though, who the hell is Leslie going to spend her time talking to now? Ben? Booooooring.) However, the rest of the characters are still interesting enough that I’ll gladly tune in and watch the rest of the crew go about their day. “Parks,” unlike “NCIS,” still has gas left in their tank, and there’s still runway in front of them.

How about you all? Has a character departure ever signaled the end for you? Or, like “Parks,” do you just carry on and hope they can do without them?

* When Scottie Thompson, the actress who played Jeanne Benoit and can now be found on “Graceland” as Lauren Kincaid left the show they just sort of stopped talking about her. I once stood in front of her in line at a Starbucks in a terminal at LAX once. She knew I recognized her because I turned around for some reason, did a double take and then froze gaping at her like a moron, and then she looked really uncomfortable. So I turned around and played it super cool and didn’t make further eye contact or talk to her at all. Nailed it. This has nothing to do with the article, I just wanted to tell that story.

Biz Break: Jennifer Aniston Is Not a Fan of Katie Couric | Ira Glass Making Balloon Animals Will Give You A Mean Case Of The Science Fridays

Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • periwinkled

    I did the awkward airport line shuffle with Alan Tudyk once! We were waiting in line at Dunkin' and they didn't have the donut he wanted (which was also the donut I wanted, so I felt his pain), and he seemed so heartbroken about it tha I decided not to have a public panic attack about him.

  • chanohack

    Is anybody going to quit "Downton Abbey" after the deaths in Season 3?

  • Zirza



    Seriously, MAJOR SPOILERS.


    Are you sure you want to be here? Really? Okay.

    I was really ticked off that they killed off Justin Ripley to begin with, but they handled it terribly. I liked what they did with the character; he went from Basil Exposition to an actual person (and either Warren Brown is becoming a better actor or he's just given more to work with, but I was really impressed with him this season). I also kind of dug the storyline at the beginning of a bromance gone wrong but it didn't fit the characer at all to swing around so quickly. I mean, this was a guy who put his career and possibly his freedom on the line for Luther; one incident later and he hates him? That doesn't make sense. Seeing them make up was sweet, but to use it as build-up for Justin's death was cruel. And they laid it on pretty thickly, with Luther first introducing him to Saint Mary, then declaring his love, then putting him up for promotion; the characters might not have known what was coming but I'm sure the audience did. That doesn't mean it wasn't cruel. Even worse was the fact that Luther seemed to get over it pretty quickly.

    It's a good thing they brought Alice back or this show would have left me with a really bad aftertaste.

  • Morgan_LaFai

    I have been thinking about this question all day. There are a bunch of shows that I started watching because of certain characters and when those characters were killed off I stopped watching.

    Alles was zahtl until they killed Roman Wild
    Goede tidjen, slechte tijden until they killed Edwin Bouwhuis
    Hollyoaks until Brendan Brady went to jail

    The death of Roman Wild hit me hard. The site I followed it on said that the only way to properly cry is with mascara covered tears, so I went out and got myself some makeup just so that I could properly cry. And I don't generally cry over tv characters unless I am pmsing and then it is a deliberate choice to binge on chocolate and watch all the Grey's Anatomy episodes where someone dies.

  • Sarah

    I don't watch NCIS, but the way this was written made me like it on some level. Nicely said :)

  • go_nelly

    Years ago when George O'Malley died on Grey's Anatomy, I was heartbroken and it took me a long time to get past that exit. I've stuck around though, through many more ups and downs (and yes, there have been some awfully low lows with certain seasons). Like, Addison was cool and I do kind of miss her, but I honestly couldn't have cared less when Burke or skanky Stevens left the show. Then came last season's finale! Seriously? Seriously. I don't even know how many times since then I've fantasized about b-tch slapping Shonda Rhimes so hard my handprint would be tattooed on her stupid face forever. I mean, to kill off Lexie Grey, who was by far the most beloved character on that show, for me at least... AND THEN MARK SLOAN TOO! Not to mention leaving multiple story lines involving those two anything but finished, and just as they (together) were gearing up for something, I don't know, a brilliant climax or at the very least some sort of CLOSURE... Well that was just plain unnecessary cruelty. I was fed up and didn't really want to keep watching after all the chips landed from that clusterf-ck. I'm so freaking loyal though, that I haven't been able to give up. Despite the fact that I come to loathe Shonda Rhimes more and more with each new episode. I've enjoyed the ride so much that I'm not likely to make a move to get off on my own. Somehow I've conditioned myself to suck it up and hold tight through the plot points that make me queazy just so I don't miss any good thrill (bit of monologue wisdom or fabulously timed snarky remark) that might be coming up around the corner. Meanwhile, my gut tells me it wants ABC to hurry up and flip the switch, because the kindest thing to do would be to put all of us (diehard fans) out of our misery.

  • OH! When Michael left because of the chicken pox, and never came back, and Budnick was left with out anyone as a rival, and then Pinsky came in, with his piano playing, and his sausage stash... I almost couldn't watch Salute Your Shorts anymore.

  • Nieve 'The Threadkiller Queen'

    I never watched NCIS after Sasha Alexander left and I have be we seen an ep of Criminal Minds after Paget Brewster left. Brewster was the shit and I just can't watch cm without her snarky awesomeness.

  • Gabs

    I may be alone at Pajiba on this, but I think Ziva is one of the most interesting characters on TV right now. Especially as a female character who has romantic sideplots, but her focus is not on that. She's a physically and mentally capable person, and the most dangerous member on a team full of men. She's awesome. I enjoy NCIS, but I didn't care for the seasons before Ziva, so I doubt I'll watch after her departure. Especially if her departure comes via bullet to the head.

  • Jim Slemaker

    My favorite character on network TV. Ziva will be sorely missed. I'm disappointed, sure, but I do hope de Pablo can go on to other things. I'll still watch NCIS, but agree that the relationship between Tony and Ziva continued to make the show way more interesting. Not sure where it goes now. I hope the producers leave it open and don't do the typical NCIS female bloody demise. Though trading Sasha Alexander for Cote de Pablo was pure TV gold.

  • SVR

    I never finished watching Torchwood after Tosh and Owen died. As in, I heard they were going to die and didn't even bother to watch that last episode. I considered going back because Children of Earth was supposed to be so good, but then I learned Ianto died and decided to just be done with it.

  • Artemis

    I can't watch Sliders past the point where John Rhys-Davies left. It wasn't a particularly great show but it was fun and entertaining, and once he left it became unwatchable. They really needed his gravitas to balance out the rest of it.

  • ladydee

    NCIS, minus Ziva, is going up against Agents of SHIELD. Ten bucks says this is its last season.

  • chanohack

    I'll take it, too. I think you underestimate how much all our grandparents LOVE "NCIS."

  • I'll take that bet. I have a sneaky suspicion that in terms of duration 'Agents' is going to be more 'Firefly' (or possibly 'Dollhouse') than it is 'Buffy.'

  • BlackRabbit

    Maybe she could transfer?

  • DominaNefret


  • PitterPatterMatter


  • PaddyDog

    Seriously? Your solution for the end story of one of the few women on mainstream TV who can really compete with the guys both intellectually and physically is that instead of some great action ending she get married and have babies????????

  • Beats a headshot.

  • PitterPatterMatter

    I've never watched a single episode of "Criminal Minds" ever since Paget Brewster left. Not even my major crush on everything Hotchner could help.

    I'll stick around to see what happens to Ziva, since I believe I heard somewhere that the actress will be back for a few episodes in the beggining of the season to "wrap" things up...and then I don't know, I wasn't really following the show as before. Maybe if something major happens, I'll tune in.

    Not for "Criminal Minds" though. The appaling way that show has dealt with their cast in the past leaves me no room for maybes.

  • Tis true about CM. But they at least improved Spencer's storyline. And Jeanne Tripplehorn character was alright after a few episodes. I only watch when I'm hungover on Sunday and nothing else will stream.

  • Bert_McGurt

    This by no means signified the end of my watching the show, but I'd always hoped The Sopranos would bring Furio back in the later seasons. You needed sh*t to get done, you called Furio. Competence in tight shirts and a ponytail.

  • I started weaning off NCIS after McGee lost weight and started looking like he had some sort of chemo going on (oh God, after the Whitfield reminder DO NOT TELL ME HE HAS CANCER). I certainly enjoyed de Pablo on the show, and loved her chemistry with the others, although I wasn't as enamored with the Tony/Ziva pairing after the episode with her victim-of-the-week boyfriend that died in such an awful way (the guy poisoned with radiation).

    I may catch up in the reruns sometime, but I don't know how I feel about her departure yet.

  • DeaconG

    I stopped watching when the subplot involving Gibbs and the Doc (Jamie Lee Curtis) stopped dead in the water. They got to a certain point and then it just...evaporated. Bring my girl back and restart that subplot and I'll start watching again.

  • Semilitterate

    the JLC character was putrid, Ziva or no, Curtis will send me to Netflix in a heartbeat

  • mrsdalgliesh

    It wasn't the extreme weight loss for me -- it was Tim's suddenly thin, raspy voice. There was an episode with Lily Tomlin which was ruined (this is all relative, of course, since we're talking about NCIS after all) by Sean Murray barely managing to croak out his dialogue.

    Since the show is just comfortable background tv for me, I can deal with Ziva's departure, but there must be sex for Tony & Ziva before she departs. I know it will only be tame, sheet-covered CBS sex, but Michael Weatherly has been perfecting a pretty hot stare at Z for the last few seasons and we need to see the rest of him get involved, at least once.

  • AshBookworm

    I don't watch NCIS but I quit CSI: Original when Grissom left. I didn't even watch his final couple of episodes so don't know how or why he left and I don't care.

  • kirbyjay

    Speaking of the many, many CSI's, I was kinda bummed when Speed (Rory Cochrane) was killed in a shoot out. He was really the only one I liked on that show.
    It sucked when Grissom left but he was such a picklepuss that I didn't miss him. I like Ted Danson in it though.
    Really sucked when Topher Grace and Ashton Kutcher left T7S. They should have ended it but pulled a Roseanne instead and threw it all into a blender with the cover off and let it splatter against the wall.
    Bad Bad Writers!

  • Bert_McGurt

    He ran away to Costa Rica and married Sara, I think. Then she came back, but I think they're still married...

    Anyhoo, I totally agree. I've caught a couple of the Ted Danson episodes, and while he's actually quite good (it's Danson, of course he is) he's no Grissom.

  • PitterPatterMatter

    Same here, but get this...apparently they went and got a divorce late last season. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Really, it's the funniest thing ever. I witnessed the whole "Save Sara" thing back on good ol' messageboards...and then, they get....HAHAHAHA! A DIVORCE!


    Clearly, I'm weird. And that's neat.

  • Berry

    I have almost no idea what you're even talking about, but I had to upvote anyway, 'cause that was some beautiful madness. (Please don't hunt me down and smite me.)

  • fightchess

    Does Scrubs season 9 count here? Because I watched approximately 2 minutes of that before remembering that the ending of 8 was great and that I shouldn't spoil it.

  • SnowMan

    I don't think it counts mostly because Bill Lawrence wanted to call it "Scrubs: Med School" and promote it as a spin-off, not "season 9," but ABC overruled him.
    Not that it was ever any good, but I think most Scrubs fans would have given it a bigger shot if it had clearly been marketed as a spin-off.
    On the plus side, the failure of that show left Eliza Coupe available for "Happy Endings."

  • Kala

    Are you referring to that godawful "Interns" continuation? It doesn't neatly fit into this category, but the half hour I suffered through is a great example of how large cast shifts can ruin a show's magic.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    That's House for me. I didn't bother watching after season 3.

  • upstate

    It's not so much that Season 9 sucked as that it never happened.

  • Maguita NYC

    Does replacing a deceased cast member count?

    When Andy Whitfield passed away from non-hodgkin lymphoma, I never thought that anyone could ever replace him as Spartacus. The show should have ended there, and I certainly did not approve of his replacement Liam McIntyre. This however changed by the 6th episode in Blood and Sand: I was completely sold. He owned the role in very much his own way until the end.

    RIP Andy Whitfield.

  • Irina

    The closing credits of the final episode, oh my gosh... Had been softly crying ever since Gannicus gave his final roar of defiance, but then the credits came, and there was Barca and Oenomaus and Mira and Varro and finally: I am Spartacus!!! and I was crying a freaking flood. RIP Andy, you are missed.

  • Maguita NYC

    Stop. Or I'm going to start crying too!

  • Gaaaaah, that still stings. I couldn't even watch the prequel series because of his passing. My niece seems to like McIntyre alright, but you never forget your first, I suppose.

  • Maguita NYC

    So you haven't watched the two last seasons? At all?!

  • judyblueeyes

    OH NO!! My lady-crush!!! I have to agree with Mike, that might be the nail in the coffin of my relationship with NCIS....boo hissssssss

  • NynjaSquirrel

    At the end of Season 10 I did wonder if she'd be back - the connections to her father, the olive tree etc - seemed like the perfect closure. Where would she go from there - she was 'done' as a story. It'll be interesting to see how the dynamics change.

blog comments powered by Disqus