Cote de Pablo

When Cote de Pablo announced that she was leaving NCIS in July, fans weren't the only ones caught off guard. In an open letter to fans releasedTuesday, executive producer Gary Glasberg discusses the shock that came with de Pablo's announcement and shares details on Ziva's departure plans.

NCIS Video: Will Ziva survive Cote de Pablo's exit?

"That was quite a summer," Glasberg begins. "I had planned on picnics, barbecues and weekend staycations. I did not plan on the departure of Ziva David. We've been very busy for the last couple of months making this work and handling the situation with the utmost care and delicacy. Now I've finally 'come up for air' and I wanted to reach out to you, the greatest fan base in the universe, and fill you in on what's coming, how we are feeling about all this, and assure you we're doing some really terrific work and feeling confident about moving forward."

Like fans, Glasberg says that he too was shocked by de Pablo's decision, but reminds viewers that "change happens." "Very often, extraordinary creativity comes out of adjustment. And so we find ourselves not dwelling on the past, but eager to guide you into the future of NCIS," Glasberg says.

While Glasberg might not have been ready to let Ziva go, he did tease a historic send-off. "The amazing resolution you're going to see is pretty damn heart-wrenching and we're incredibly proud of it," he writes. "Prepare yourselves for a moment in television history. Images that will end up in the archives. I couldn't be happier with how my NCIS family stepped up and did some of the most emotional work we've ever done.

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"Watch with us. Experience with us. It's okay to be sad. But, then, don't forget what we're good at," Glasberg continues. "We like to make you smile. We like to rock your world and leave you on the edge of your seat. We like to show you what the greatest team of federal agents is capable of. And all of that will happen in Season 11."

In addition to saying goodbye to Ziva, Glasberg says that Season 11 will also feature more of Tony's backstory, Gibbs connecting with his father, and will test Ducky and Jimmy's relationship.

NCIS returns Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 8/7c on CBS.

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