Michael Weatherly Says He Would Have Been Nervous in Cote de Pablo’s Shoes in ‘NCIS’: Here’s Why

Michael Weatherly was a staple on NCIS for many years — one of the characters whose contagious energy and quick-tongued nature kept bringing fans back for more. From his long-gestating romantic arc with Ziva David to his mentorship dynamic with Agent Gibbs, and his sibling-like rivalry with McGee, he was one of the show’s early secrets to success

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

Michael Weatherly was a necessary ingredient in NCIS’s early recipe. He supplied a needed dose of comic relief in a show about murder and espionage that might have otherwise been a bit too dark and mimetic of its less successful predecessor, Jag. Yet, though Michael Weatherly felt safe in his position, he would have been worried if he had been in Cote de Pablo’s shoes. Why? Let’s just say, at the start, the women who starred across from Weatherly didn’t stick around for very long. 

Cote de Pablo was the third actor to star as Tony DiNozzo’s female partner in ‘NCIS’

Though many fans know that Cote de Pablo replaced Sasha Alexander’s Kate Todd, Alexander was not the first actor to star in NCIS as DiNozzo’s female partner. Though Alexander was on NCIS from 2003-2005, her two-year run was a lot lengthier than Robyn Lively’s brief stay. 

Robyn Lively starred in two NCIS episodes as Vivian Blackadder — a former FBI agent turned member of the NCIS Major Case Response Team. What went wrong? Test audiences didn’t like her too much, and then showrunner Don Bellisario when on to describe the actress and character as too “soft,” which NCIS.Fandom notes.  Thus, by the time Cote de Pablo came around, the role didn’t seem all that secure, leading Weatherly and the cast to wonder how long Ziva would last. 

Michael Weatherly on Cote de Pablo joining ‘NCIS’ as Ziva David 

During an interview with The Futon Critic, Michael Weatherly explained how he would have been “sweating” in Cote de Pablo’s shoes, wondering if he would last on the show. He explained:

Robyn Lively had been in the first two episodes as “the girl.” That’s, talk about a perilous position on our show, we’re on our third “girl.” And she’s Israeli, I don’t even know how she sticks around. [Laughs.] If I were her [lowers voice], I’d be really nervous. [Laughs.] I’d be like sweating all the time. I mean if I were her agents, I’d be like “just take the money, no negotiation.”

The Futon Critic

While Michael Weatherly may be explaining this predicament in a light tone, it didn’t make Cote de Pablo’s position any less “perilous.” However, lucky for fans, she stuck around. And, she quickly found a place in fans’ hearts as the butt-kicking former Mossad Officer who often confused American idioms. Now she has returned to NCIS for season seventeen. Yet, whether she will appear in the upcoming season remains unknown.