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NCIS Season 11 Spoilers: A Team Divided?

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In the aftermath of a surprising Season 10 finale, which ended with Gibbs' black ops mission and three agents resigning, we look ahead to NCIS Season 11 and what lies ahead for a team in turmoil.

Executive Producer Gary Glasberg spoke with Entertainment Weekly about a season in which he did a lot of unorthodox things, especially for a show largely considered procedural in nature.

After three episodes that felt like season-enders - Eli and Jackie's death, Tiva's car crash, Bodnar's demise - we were left with a surprising finale Tuesday and many questions for NCIS Season 11.

Excerpts from Glasberg's chat with EW below ...

Ziva With Gibbs

On how he conceptualized this story arc: "[For 10 years], Gibbs has handled things but maybe crossed some lines in the way that he handled them. And someone had to have noticed that somewhere along the way."

"There are people paying attention and what if someone - an investigator who, for his own reasons, decided that this was his opportunity, the moment to go after him and basically say, ‘You can’t keep doing this.'"

"Ziva going after Bodnar was just sort of the straw that broke the camel’s back... and, ultimately, a case linked to that head of the Navy SEAL that we were dealing with. All those threads will tie up."

"Gibbs' team resigns and puts their badges down on Vance’s desk and Morrow, along with Vance and others, come to him and say, "We can make all of this go away if you help us with this case.'"

"And, ultimately, jumping ahead four months, we don’t see who’s in that town car but we know it’s someone Fornell is protecting, and we’re left with Fornell in Gibbs’ sights."

"It was definitely a different season-ender but it’s been a very different season and in doing that, I wanted to come through with something that wasn’t what people normally would have expected."

On how we pick up next season: "In the season opener, we will see the progression of time leading up to that moment that everyone just experienced."

"In that progression, we’ll see the case that Gibbs is assigned to, the specifics of the case, how it is unfolded, who the players are, and then we get to the exact moment. It will all make sense."

On whether he knows what Tony, Ziva and Tim have been up to: "I’m starting to. There are a bunch of pieces that are floating around in my head and at some point ... I’ll figure it all out."

On McGee's girlfriend and Palmer's baby: "The lovely Delilah. That will likely pay off at some point as well. We may even meet Delilah. It depends on how much I can handle in the opening episode."

"But, yeah, there are some threads and nuggets - there’s Delilah, there’s the Palmer baby. There are all kinds of little cookies in there that hopefully people will pick up on.

On whether Ziva "friend zoned" Tony: "I don’t think so. I think there’s a little more to it than that. I think they’re sort of dancing around each other and trying to get a sense of how to move forward."

"Based on everything that’s happened in the last year ... we’re letting it slowly percolate and build and hopefully get it to a place that’s going to be satisfying for everybody."

"[The forehead kiss] might not satisfy everyone out there, but I think we’re getting there, She even reaches up with her hand and puts it very gently, and in a lovely way, on his shoulder before that."

"I think [we have] definitely advanced from where we were a year ago."

On his final word on NCIS Season 10: "This has been a really fantastic season for us. Best numbers we’ve ever had ... more viewers than we’ve ever had. I couldn’t be more thrilled with the show."

"We’ve hired a couple of new writers; we’re already working on five or six stories for next season. Everybody is energized and ready to go. We’re going to take a few days off, come back and keep going."

"The show’s in a really fantastic place and we’re constantly surprising each other about where we want to go. And as long as we keep feeling that, I don’t really see an end in sight for NCIS."

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.

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@S Just one question-How was Ziva portrayed as Gibbs'loyal and trusted agent? At the end of "Aliyah", he left her behind in Israel. He chose Tony over Ziva. Tony wasn't answering for Ziva's screw ups, he was answering for the shooting of a Mossad agent while he didn't have back up. And there were no repercussions. Gibbs trusted Tony to be able to handle the situation and prove that Eli was manipulating all of them. We don't know what will be the consequences of Ziva's actions with Bodnar. We have not been made privy yet to what will be her punishment in the 4 months since her resignation. Heck, we could see Ziva in jail when season 11 starts up. That story line hasn't been tied up yet.

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A little add on:
And now after going after Bodnar alone with him winding up dead, she is once again not only being portrayed as the excused and wronged victim because daddy 1.0 who she could barely stand died, but once again is being shown as the noble martyr in "taking responsibility". If the team was investigating the death of a marine who "slipped and fell over a railing" while in a hand to hand fight, do you think the team would blindly buy into that argument and let the survivor off scot free?

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@ guest - and yet at the end of the Rivkin affair it was Tony who Vance and Gibbs threw to the wolves, even though Gibbs had told Tony to keep an eye on the situation. Ziva wobbled her lip at daddy 2.0 and all was forgiven. She went on to be portrayed as Gibbs most loyal, skilled, and trusted agent, and was even more nasty and disrespectful to Tony after he "saved her worthless a--" She only apologized after being forced to by Gibbs. Ziva's captivity in Somalia did not change her betrayals, lies, or violent acts. If she'd followed her supervisor's advise, she wouldn't have gotten into the mess in the first place.

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part 2
investigating Rivkin and calling Ziva out for her behavior back then. I did not agree with Ziva at all for that last half of season 6. I was mad at the actions and behavior that she was displaying. I thought she looked bad in that whole situation, not Tony. At the end of the day though, it has nothing to do with Ziva; it is the writers and the executive producer.

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@S, I am sorry that you view Tony in that way. I do not feel that he is that way in every episode. Yes, I do agree with you that there have been some scenes this season that Tony has acted like a nimrod for no reason. The scene that comes to mind is the one when I believe he and Tim were fighting about something or he was shoving food in his mouth. The writers have been relying too much on those scenes. I also cringed at the Palmer scenes and how he is rambling more, and Gibbs is even less patient than usual and how Abby seems more immature than ever (the whole I can't work because I had a childhood flashback is so not Abby). So yeah, I roll my eyes at those scenes too. But I also have seen a mature Tony emerging this season, too. I really love how he was there for Tim when he was upset about his father. I like how he was the voice of reason with McGee and Ziva when he got on them for working behind Gibbs back. I also like how he did the same in season 6 when he was the one investigating Rivkin and calling Ziva out for her behavior back then. I did not agree with Ziva at all for that last half of season 6. I was mad at the actions and behavior that she was displaying. I thought she looked bad in that whole situation, not Tony. At the end of the day though, it has nothing to do with Ziva; it is the writers and the executive producer.

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@guest - Well if Ziva was made to be the butt of a humiliating joke every single week, I wonder if ardent Ziva fans would "piss and whine" a little more. While the writers give Ziva flaws, they always heap a huge dose of poor poor Ziva writing to mitigate her flawed actions as in the Bodnar murder or her betrayals and lies in the season 6 finale. Tony, on the other hand is given no such consideration. He is the teams butt monkey week after week, and no longer portrayed as a strong intelligent agent, except on the rare occasion when he's allowed to do something that's not completely bone headed. I would just love for the writers to turn the tables and give Ziva regular doses of humiliating scenes and let Tony be written sympathetically and come out on top every single time then see how much love you and others would heap on the show.

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Well @S, since my response was not directly made to you, that paragon of virtue comment was obviously not directed at you. But, you have in the past, for the last few months, repeatedly stated how Tony is made the butt of all the jokes and how he is not the competent agent he once was and that he is only there to support Ziva and so on and so forth. I do not come on these pages and piss and whine about how they always make Ziva come off as a sanctimonious bitch. I watch the show, I love it, and I go on with my daily life. My sarcasm was for how Ziva haters think that Ziva lovers place her on a pedestal and I do not. I am fully aware of her flaws. I just don't come on her and complain about how she is represented ad nauseum like Tony lovers like to do about him.

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@guest - Tell me just exactly where I stated that Tony is a "paragon of virtue" or that I wanted him to be. Oh and are you saying that these characters aren't real life people? Geeze do I feel silly. That's one rude awakening for us non Ziva worshipers - I mean - her character is so realistic. Now lets see if you detected the sarcasm. Oh, and thanks for the oh so surprising invitation to stop watching since we're not squeezing enough about wonder Ziva's many tragedies or her (overly) dramatic interpretation. Sorry - but subtlety is not her middle name.

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part 2 the other characters. I take him and love him for what he is and I do the same with Ziva. Just be clear, I do not want those things to happen in season 11, so don't respond to my sarcasm as being my truth! I fully trust the writers to deliver another, entertaining season. If you are that upset with it, perhaps now would be the right time to make a clean break and stop watching. No one's favorite character will ever be written in the exact way one wants it to be. If you want Tony, the saintly hero, maybe you should read Fan Fiction. That way, he was always be perfect and you will not have to be so disappointed!

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Yea, I do think Ziva is a sweetheart! More power to her. I hope every episode in season 11 has her at the center of it and that everyone else follows behind her in adoration, especially Tony! I mean, I love it when he is her purse! That just suits him so well! In my perfect world when season 11 starts up again, Tony and Ziva will have eloped over the summer and will be married when they rejoin Team Gibbs at NCIS! And then she could get pregnant and they could have a daughter and then Ziva could teach her how to demean her father, just like she does. I can't wait! By the way, this was sarcasm. But, I know how personal you Tony fans take everything so I just thought I should start taking Ziva more personally and I should hold her on a pedestal. Oh wait, I live in reality. I don't view these characters as real people. FYI, I am a huge Tony fan-I just do not make him out to be the paragon of virtue that the rest of you rabid fans do. He is a flawed individual just like all the other characters. I take him and love him for what he is and I do the same with Ziva.

NCIS Quotes

McGee: Rule number 70 - keep digging till you hit bottom.
Abby: McGee! There is no rule 70.
McGee: Well, I--
Abby: You just made up a rule. This McGibbs thing has really gone to your head. I don't even recognize you right now.

Keates: Spider?
Tony: Keates?
Gibbs: You know her?
Tony: Um, well I..in a sort of...yeah. She's Philly PD.
Keates: She was. She's ATF now. Special Agent Zoe Keates. You want to get that gun out of my face and come over here and give me a hug?

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