"NCIS" viewers bid adieu to Ziva (Cote de Pablo) in episode 2. CBS

“NCIS” in July threw a big curve ball to its fans -- agent Ziva David, played by actress Cote de Pablo, was leaving the show after eight seasons.

De Pablo joined the CBS series in its third season. So how did it all end for Ziva in the episode that aired Tuesday, Oct. 1?

“NCIS” set the ground work for Ziva’s exit in the first of a two-part farewell for the former Israeli army agent in its premiere episode on Sept. 24. Season 11 kicked off four months in the past with Ziva in Tel Aviv to “reconnect” and “think.” While in Israel, she flirts with fellow wisecracking agent Tony DiNozzo online and tells him that she's thinking about him. Tony ends up booking a flight to Tel Aviv, but Tony's plans to visit Ziva are derailed when his apartment is attacked by a terrorist group.

With the whole NCIS team being targeted, a badgeless Tim McGee and Tony joined the investigation to find the terrorists, and along the way they discover something equally disturbing -- Ziva's the next target, setting off an intense search to find her before it's too late!

In episode 2, “Past, Present, Future,” Tony meets up with Ziva's friend Adam in Tel Aviv to search for her. There the two men come face-to-face with new Mossad Director Orli Elbaz, who shares a note from Ziva: “Stop this for him.” The note leads Tony and Adam to Dr. Deena Bashan, one of Ziva’s childhood friends. Dr. Bashan says that she believes the “him” in the note may refer to Tony, and she claims that the women haven't seen each other since the funeral of Ziva's father a couple months ago.

Surveillance footage reveals that Dr. Bashan isn’t being completely truthful. The tapes show that Dr. Bashan has recently seen Ziva. So, why did she lie? She was in love with Ziva’s brother, Ari, who she claims planned to propose to her, but Ziva killed him before he could.

“Why should she have the man that she loves, when she took mine from me?” an anguished Dr. Bashan laments.

Thanks to some dreams he had, Tony eventually manages to track down Ziva several months later, but it's not a happy reunion. Ziva tells him that he shouldn’t have come. She opens up a little after he returns her Star of David necklace, and she tells him that she’s been safe and visiting places from her past.

It turns out that Dr. Bashan is the reason Ziva's leaving NCIS. Ziva tells Tony that she's haunted by thoughts that "there’s someone out there crying” for every man she kills. She wants to leave that person and pain behind, and tells Tony she won't return to Washington with him.

At the airport runway, Ziva explains to Tony that the “him” in the note is actually special agent Leroy Gibbs, NCIS' team leader, played by Mark Harmon, who she hopes to make proud of her decision to make a fresh start. She tells Tony that doesn’t mean she doesn’t love him.

“You are so loved,” she tells Tony before locking him in a kiss.

Episode 2, “Past, Present, Future,” ended with Tony on the plane, carrying Ziva’s Star of David necklace and an “I Will” wishlist.

What did you think of Cote de Pablo’s exit on “NCIS”? Let us know in the comments section.