Proof That Cote de Pablo’s Ziva Will Play a Major Part in ‘NCIS’ Season 17

Though the NCIS showrunners have only confirmed Cote de Pablo’s return for the premiere of season seventeen, all signs point towards the actress playing a major part in the upcoming season. 

Cote de Pablo’s Ziva David was a fan-favorite while on the show; thus, her return is destined to bring back a few long-lost enthusiasts who may have since departed the series. While fans see Ziva’s return as a healthy dose of nostalgia-infused glory, the CBS head honchos see dollar signs. 

Cote de Pablo of 'NCIS'
‘NCIS’ Star Cote de Pablo | Photo by John Parra/WireImage

Bringing Cote de Pablo back for one or two episodes would presumably lead to a backlash, and a subsequent drop in ratings – defying one of the many factors that likely went into the request for her return. However, this factor is only one of many indicators pointing towards a significant presence from Ziva in the upcoming installment. Let’s dive in. 

Wilmer Valderrama hinted that season 17 of ‘NCIS’ will focus on Ziva

Wilmer Valderrama recently took to Instagram, letting all his followers know that the cast has resumed work on NCIS. With a picture to accompany his post, he wrote:

“Aaaaaaannnd we are back on set, the first table read for #NCISSeason 17th.. ✅This season premiere is 🔥 (One word.. Ziva)”

Wilmer Valderrama

Though Wilmer Valderrama specifically references the premiere, how can an episode –  reduced to approximately 42 minutes when accounting for commercials – satisfactorily open and close an entire narrative arc for a character who has been gone for seven years? Such reasoning is preposterous; not to mention, we have grown to expect more from the writers behind NCIS. 

Returning to her career-catalyzing role was likely a difficult decision for Cote de Pablo and, based on her previous statements, it seems unlikely that she would excite fans, only to abandon them come episode two.

We must remember why Cote de Pablo left NCIS: a lack of narrative “respect”

Though Cote de Pablo initially cited personal reasons concerning her departure from the hit show, she later revealed that her character was being mistreated. She stated:

“Look, I love this character. I worked eight years crafting this character and loving her. And so when I felt or I perceived that the character was not being treated with the respect that she deserved, no money in the world [would suffice]. They were going to send her back to Israel and make her an unfortunate, miserable woman. I said, ‘What do I leave all the women that have watched and followed the show for so long?’ And I didn’t think it was fair. So I said, ‘Unless someone can really write something fantastic for her, I won’t go back.’”

Cote de Pablo stated that “no money in the world” would bring her back to the role; rather, a very strong and captivating narrative would have to be put forth. If Cote de Pablo stuck to her guns, we should assume the writers promised her a compelling storyline in season 17 – one crucial to NCIS, and relevant to the other characters’ journeys. 

Cote de Pablo was offered quite the sizable sum to stay when she chose to leave NCIS, as the showrunners feared her departure would lead to the show’s downfall.

While the show kept on kicking, many fans argue that it has not been the same since. Thus, it’s likely that the creators brought her back, offered her a nice amount of money, as well as a narrative worth sticking around for. And if Wilmer Valderamma is any indication of the truth, Ziva will be at the center of season seventeen.