‘NCIS’: Are Ziva and Tony Returning?

NCIS fans have been clamoring for Ziva and Tony to return to their favorite show. Unfortunately, the clamor may be for naught, as multiple sources indicate it’s unlikely Ziva or Tony will come back, although for very different reasons.

What happened to Ziva?

Fans will vividly recall that at the beginning of season 11, Ziva (Cote de Pablo) was hiding out in Israel after a terrorist group came after NCIS. When Tony (Michael Weatherly) found her, Ziva, who is Israeli, had decided to stay there because she no longer wanted to work as a special agent following her father’s death. That left a window open for her return.

However, that window seemed to slam shut when at the end of season 13, she was supposedly killed in a mortar attack that happened offscreen.  That was just as well for de Pablo, who portrays the fan-favorite character.

“As far as my decision to leave, that’s a personal thing, and I’d rather leave it at that,” she said. “The idea of leaving was not something I toyed around with for a long time. It was an overwhelmingly hard thing –at times terrifying.” 

Is Ziva alive?

But as is true with comic book characters, TV characters have a strange way of not staying dead. Just ask fans of Dallas, who once saw Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy) die after being struck by a car – only to have the entire season in which he was dead turn out to be a dream by his ex-wife Pam.

In season 16 NCIS episode “She,” Eleanor Bishop (Emily Wickersham) was working a case that led her to Zima’s old office. Ellie discovered a note allegedly written by Ziva: “Eleanor Bishop. For the safety of my family, please keep my secret.” That’s pretty lucid for someone who died in a mortar explosion, and fans were thrilled.

However, fans may do well not to keep their hopes up. In an interview two years ago, she said, “Unfortunately, because of political things and the scripts not being good enough, I chose not to [stay],” she explained.  “I love this character. I worked eight years in crafting this character and loving her, so when I felt or I perceived the character was not being treated with the respect that she deserved, all the money in the world couldn’t buy [me].”

What about Tony?

Ziva’s paramour, Tony, had previously exited the show himself when he found out he had a daughter with Ziva, and he left the agency to concentrate on caring for her.

Of course, that was before Ziva’s dramatic, although unseen return. So if NCIS says that Ziva is actually alive, wouldn’t it make sense for Tony to return as well?

That might be easier wished for than actually done. Weatherly followed up NCIS with the show Bull, co-starring Eliza Dushku. It later came to light that CBS settled with the actress for $9.5 million when she was fired from Bull after accusing Weatherly of repeated sexual harassment.

“Weatherly did all this,” the actress wrote in an opinion piece for the Boston Globe. “His conduct was unwelcome and directed at me. Watching the recordings in the settlement process, it is easy to see how uncomfortable, speechless, and frozen he made me feel …This was classic workplace harassment that became workplace bullying. I was made to feel dread nearly all the time I was in his presence. And this dread continues to come up whenever I think of him and that experience.”

Fans are a devoted lot, but given the controversy with Weatherly, and de Pablo’s clear dissatisfaction with the show, viewers may have to resort to fanfiction if they want to get Tony and Ziva together again.