Does ‘NCIS’ Need Tony & Ziva Moving Forward?

Ever since Cote de Pablo returned to NCIS in the final moments of season 16, one question has been lingering in the front of fans’ minds: will Michael Weatherly return as Tony DiNozzo for a reunion? While fans anticipated a reunion to come at the end of season 17 — when the threat keeping Ziva from her family was removed — such an on-screen moment of bliss never graced the small-screen. 

Michael Weatherly and Cote de Pablo in NCIS
Michael Weatherly and Cote de Pablo in NCIS | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images

So, will Tony DiNozzo return in season 18? Instead of asking, will he, how could he, or when would be best, the right question may be: is such a return necessary? Should the writers bring back both Cote de Pablo and Michael Weatherly for season 18? Should the show dive into their relationship, entering the rabbit hole of never-before-traversed emotional turmoil and broken trust territory? Or, is this a story — filled with complex character arcs and resurging past dramas— best left to the imagination? Let’s analyze the pros and cons of Ziva and Tony taking a little limelight in season 18.

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How ‘NCIS’ could benefit from a Tiva presence in season 18 

When Michael Weatherly and Cote de Pablo were on the show, NCIS experienced some of its highest ratings of all time — with an average of close to 20 million viewers tuning in each week. Their slow-boiling romance was a large focus in the show’s middle seasons, and it kept viewers hooked. Thus, the show may experience a surge in viewership if an on-screen reunion played out over several episodes. 

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Not to mention, fans are curious to see how Tony DiNozzo would respond to seeing his long-lost, once presumably deceased, wife. How will they move forward with all the time lost? What’s next for Ziva, Tony, and Tali? A reunion could provide closure — answers to questions and curiosities that have come about since Ziva walked back into the picture to safeguard Gibbs’ life. However, aside from exploring the emotional fallout tied to the previous season, what else would the duo offer? 

Why it may be best for the ‘NCIS’ writers to leave Ziva and Tony behind (for good)

While NCIS focuses a great deal of attention on its intriguing character dynamics, it is still a crime procedural at its core. Meaning, audiences come to learn about the characters via life or death situations and intense criminal cases. Unless Ziva and Tony are planning to return to the NCIS team, what purpose would they serve to NCIS at large? How could their story intertwine with individual episode plotlines? 

Will the show simply take a break from fighting crime to show Tony and Ziva setting the diner table, glancing back at one another with a slightly uncomfortable stare? It seems a little soap opera-esque, don’t you think? And, bringing Ziva and Tony back into the heart of the show and putting them in danger would feel desperate — a plea to since-departed viewers to return to NCIS. 

While many fans may be curious as to what the future holds for Tony and Ziva, their story may be better left to the imagination — to avoid smudging the vision fans have created in their minds.