In fact, I get angrier each day. Which is mostly based on how the people responsible for making NCIS and promoting it choose to deal with the loss of Ziva and Cote, how they try and eradicate both Ziva and Cote from the show's history, how they choose to deal with the fans who still mourn her loss, and oh, by the way, I am extremely pissed off at all the people who tell us it's not legit to still mourn, because GUESS WHAT: it's completely okay. You lose something (or someone) valuable, and it affects you. The more you love, the harder it affects you. And I think it says a lot about how much the folks out there (still) love Ziva and Cote that, yes, we pulled themselves together because "it's just a TV show", but we are still not over losing her. Some of us never will be.
And that's the thing that makes me so incredibly angry: for ten years, the team behind NCIS was all happy-happy joy-joy when it came to how passionate the fans were about their show. They were intrigued and excited about how many emotions we pour into this show and get out of it in return. They loved that we were emotionally involved. They WANTED that. They talked about it in interviews with awe. Now? Now we're suddenly a pesky nuisance. Now our emotions are suddenly bothering them and they want us to turn them off and just go back to mindless consumerism and shut up, thankyouverymuchbye.
You don't believe me? Hey, that's fine. But I've seen too much spite aimed our way by actors, writers, spokespersons, and directors by now, and as a direct result I simply cannot believe they want our honest opinion, they just want our eyeballs stupidly stuck to a TV set each Tuesday night. More often than not their huffy answer to criticism was, "well, we still love you, and we're still doing a good job!" Strangely enough, those words were often followed by mass-blocks of everyone who just dared to have Cote as a user icon. Yeah, sorry, but I don't really feel the love there.
I even get it, you know. It probably sucks hard after ten years of being praised to the high heavens that everywhere you go these days there's criticism raining down on you. I get it. It confuses you and it pisses you off. But here's what makes you a true professional and not just someone who does the job they're paid for: you listen to criticism, even if you later discard some of it. You listen to customer complaints. And you try to figure out what went wrong if you are suddenly drowned in complaints you never used to get before, and then you address the topic in a way that makes it easier for the customers to deal with the situation... or, better yet, you fix the problem.
There are other things that just don't work for me. The cast and crew (with the refreshing and very noticeable exception of Michael Weatherly) solidly point the finger of blame at Cote (and then blame her aversion to social media on the fact that they "just have to shun her name so sorry"... which, of course, only counts as long as they can't pimp their dying show with a mention...) The characters themselves are mostly out of character these days, especially when it comes to the topic of Ziva, and that's another thing that irks me and why for me the show that I loved ended with season ten: it screws every single value and every bit of character development we've had over the years in the rear. Think about how these characters used to react when one of their own was down or in trouble or missing or "universally absent". Think about the whole glory of the Aliyah arc, culminating in ToC. And then look at how they are basically treating the very same situation now and tell me the current handling of the loss of Ziva is "in character". Yeah, sorry, but the whole "family" vibe is completely lost on me now.
"Okay," I hear you say, "get to the point already."
My point is this: they are currently trying to use our emotions again. In case you haven't seen it, here's a quick rundown of the (to me) deeply offensive part of the promo for next week's episode:
voiceover: "It's Halloween and nothing's scarier than letting go..."
Abby: "I loved Ziva, but she left us!"
Tony: "I miss my friend."
voiceover: "... starting over..."
scene where Ziva-clone tackles Tony, then cut to him fondling her dog tags
Tony: "Excessive force always was your style."
Ziva-clone: "You never seemed to mind."
And yes, as a direct result of it, I have seen many of you hoper sheep out there say "oh god, now I have to watch it, they're gonna mention Ziva finally!" Wrong. They won't - at least I firmly believe we won't see any more than the two lines we get to see in this promo. Remember when I predicted what a piss-poor and unsatisfying job PPF would make of her exit? Remember when everyone said, no, that can't be, we were promised it would be all good? Remember how those same people watched the episode and then said, well, fuck? Yeah. It's gonna be just like that all over again - and worse.
I've also seen some people say, "oh, but that's just the promo, you know how they are, it's gonna play out totally different in the episode." Which is true. And that's exactly why I'm even more offended by the way they chose to cut this particular promo, because the message it spells out is clear and deliberate: GET THE FUCK OVER IT ALREADY. Because the people who just hear him say, "I miss my friend", they deliberately ignore the second half of the promo: "starting over", followed by the Ziva-clone tackle. And yes, I'm fully aware the character has a name, thanks. I still choose to call her Ziva-clone because that is the part they have clearly chosen to focus on in the promo. Because apparently witty, dark-haired girls who manhandle Tony are interchangeable and the next one on the menu (according to the promo) is enough to make him move on from the last. Who needs actual love anyway.
Five bucks on this: the scene between Tony and Abby in the lab will be cut the other way around. He'll tell her he misses his friend, then she lectures him on how she loved (notice the past tense) Ziva but she left them, hugs him, then probably shoos him out of the lab. That whole Abby line is yet another level of travesty, btw, because that's not Abby talking, that's Pauley Perette talking, whose bitterness and open backstabbing have left many of Cote's fans with a nasty taste in their mouths. Don't believe me? Then you probably missed the part where she flipped her shit on Twitter and used almost those exact same words to talk about Cote to a young fan.
And yes, I feel deeply offended that it took them more than a year to sneak in a scene that attempts to address the issue... but only in the same breath as "moving on", "starting over", "hump the next sassy girl that comes along". If you honestly think anything in this episode will be about honoring Ziva? Boy, you will come out of it feeling even worse than after PPF.
I will forever be angry about how they choose to treat Ziva's and Cote's names, both in front of the camera and behind the scenes. I still believe that both character and actress deserve much better than what they received. And I repeat - I firmly believe you will be in for a big surprise if you think the next episode will actually honor her name and contribution to this show... or if you believe the "so much history" episode that was just teased by Perette will actually include Ziva. Five bucks on this: if Perette is excited about it? It's probably gonna be all about Kate.
They're throwing scraps at you, to get you to tune in and then hopefully shut up because hey, you heard her name, so we're totes not forgetting about her, alright?
Nope. Not alright. It's an insult, it's a thinly veiled, "now get off our backs already, ffs!", and it's a disgusting attempt to draw in some viewers for an episode they have nothing else going for.
So, what do we do now? Personally, I do the same thing I did a year ago - I tell them this is not okay. The ones responsible for shunning our girl's name are (and to me that's glaringly obvious by now) both Mark Harmon and his smiling puppet Gary Glasberg. (And I swear to god, if you start arguing with me now about how Harmon is just one of the actors, I will probably yell at you to get out of my face. And then I'll tell you to go and read the latest TV Guide interview, because that one makes it abundantly clear nothing on this show happens without Harmon's approval or incentive.)
tl;dr - go write Harmon, Glasberg, and Moonves and tell them to either bring back Cote or at least treat her memory with true respect. Tell them if you're unhappy with the direction of the show and why. Be polite, but firm. And keep up the feedback, because otherwise they will think they have won and we're happy with a one-line mention and that'll be enough for us to forget all about our girl and move on to the next cool chick, just as easily as Tony will on the show soon enough.
Where to write to:
Mark Harmon or Gary Glasberg
26030 Avenue Hall
Valencia, CA 91355
Mr. Leslie Moonves
President and CEO
4024 Radford Ave.
Studio City, CA 91604
(There are more addresses and people to target over here on the BringBackCote site, so if you feel hyper-motivated, go check it out.)
And to those thinking I'm just losing my shit for no reason and surely they'll get everything they ever hoped for in that ep - yeah, see you next Tuesday, when you come back to look for these addresses. Hope your feedback will be extra-scathing!