“NCIS” Season 12 is letting Tony DiNozzo finally move on from Ziva. After Cote de Pablo’s exit, DiNozzo has been flying solo Season 11. However, the NCIS agent will be getting a new partner played by Stephanie Jacobsen, according to Entertainment Weekly.
Jacobsen will portray Special Agent Leia Pendergrast. Her character will work with DiNozzo to investigate a terroritst threat, and she might be Tony’s first real love interest since de Pablo's Ziva left "NCIS." But it doesn’t sound like agent Pendergrast will be too much like de Pablo's character. While Ziva was often serious and all about business, the new agent sounds a little more fun. The character is described as “flirtatious and adventurous with a sense of humor." The character description continues that Leia is a "straight shooter" and "brash when she needs to be." Leia also "isn’t afraid to knock down doors or egos."
While it isn’t confirmed that she’ll be a love interest, Leia sounds like a girl who will be able to handle DiNozzo’s ego. Jacobsen’s first episode will be in October, but it isn’t clear how long she’ll stick around. Fans hoping for DiNozzo to wait for Ziva to come back will be a little disappointed. Though Ziva and Tony shared a passionate kiss before she left, the writers have decided that they definitely want a new love interest.
“It’s time for Tony to continue to grow a little bit,” showrunner Gary Glasberg told TVLine. “He went through a lot last year emotionally and tried to deal with Ziva’s departure as he could. And it’s time [for Tony DiNozzo to get a new love interest].”
All hope might not be lost. Though it was the actress’ decision to leave the show, she asked “NCIS” writers to leave the door open for her return.
"The greatest thing about this last episode is that Ziva doesn't die," de Pablo told E! Online. "As long as a character doesn't die, the character can always come back.”
Though with de Pablo’s new role in “The Dovekeepers,” fans might have to get used to Jacobsen’s character.
“NCIS” Season 12 returns to CBS on Tuesday, Sept. 23, at 8 p.m. EDT. Are you ready for Tony to get a new love interest or do you want Ziva to return? Sound off in the comments section below!