Catch “NCIS” on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. EST on CBS. CBS

This year was a difficult one for TV’s most watched drama, “NCIS.” The long-running CBS series underwent a number of changes, some that fans didn’t even see coming.

The first major change in “NCIS” this year was Michael Weatherly’s exit. The actor not only played a beloved character named Anthony “Tony” DiNozzo, but he was one of the reasons fans tuned in to each episode. Any episode centered on DiNozzo would garner significant ratings. Hence, when Weatherly opted to leave the show in order to star in his own one, “Bull,” fans were heartbroken.

Fans were again unhappy when the Season 13 finale, which was also Weatherly’s last episode on “NCIS,” killed off Ziva David (Cote de Pablo). DiNozzo and Ziva’s relationship was one of the biggest draws of the crime show. In fact, it can be argued that a majority of fans ship Tiva (Tony and Ziva). Therefore, when the show killed her off, it disappointed fans. Many seasoned viewers who were looking for closure were deeply upset.

In order to infuse life in to “NCIS,” the series added three new cast members to replace Weatherly -- Jennifer Esposito, who plays Alex Quinn, Wilmer Valderrama who took on the role of Nick Torres and Duane Henry, who portrays MI6 Officer Clayton Reeves.

Although fans may take time to adjust to the new blood on the team, the ratings of Season 14 haven’t been on par with last season. The season premiere declined more than 10 percent in ratings, according to TVGuide. Ratings have declined steadily this season, with the recent Christmas-themed episode recording a 1.7 demo rating in the 18-49 category.

Apart from Weatherly’s sudden departure and the new cast members, “NCIS” also underwent another change. Its showrunner, Gary Glasberg, abruptly passed away which left the show without a leader. Fortunately, writers and producers George Schenck and Frank Cardea stepped into Glasberg’s shoes.

Will “NCIS” fare better in 2017? Time will only tell. For now, the show is still the number one scripted drama on TV.

“NCIS” Season 14 returns Tuesday, Jan. 3 at 8 p.m. EST on CBS.