‘NCIS’: A New Insider Video Reveals Cote de Pablo’s Top Secret Return

Now that Cote de Pablo’s long-awaited return to NCIS is only days away, the show is revealing more details, bit by bit, of the big event. This includes not only details of the story about her character, Ziva David, but of how the show conducted a clandestine operation almost worthy of the real NCIS. 

We say “almost” because if this were the real NCIS, we wouldn’t know anything at all. Since this is the TV show, they’ve released a fun behind-the-scenes video of how they snuck the actress on to the set to shoot her first new scene with Mark Harmon.

Cote de Pablo starring right at you
Cote de Pablo plays Ziva on NCIS | Gregg DeGuire/WireImage

Going behind the ‘NCIS’ scenes

The video, posted on NCIS’ YouTube channel, stages the return like a half-serious “search” for the actress, with the use of title cards that use the word “sorta” a lot. Titled Looking for Cote de Pablo, the video is “hosted” by showrunner Steven K. Binder, who takes us through the set on May 1, 2019, the day the return scene was shot. 

Mentioning that de Pablo had arrived in Los Angeles by “covert transport,” the video gins up a little drama, saying that “disaster struck” when her transportation got caught behind a car accident. The crew continues to prepare for her arrival, bringing her wardrobe and preparing Gibbs’ basement set. 

Finally, the video culminates with de Pablo walking on the set for the first time in several years, amid much cheering and hugging. Then the video cryptically concludes with another title card, “To be continued.” 

Few people knew about Cote de Pablo’s return

The actress’ and the characters’ return were kept so tightly under wraps, most of the cast and the crew had no idea of it. Only the showrunners had the script pages with Ziva, and the scene was not listed on the call sheet that tells personnel when and where they are needed on set. 

The producers even went so far as to film a scene for the show, tell everybody that was a wrap, and most people went home none the wiser.  But a skeleton crew stayed on the studio lot past midnight to await de Pablo’s arrival, then shoot the scene where Ziva descends Gibbs’ basement steps to tell him he’s in danger. 

Star Rocky Carroll said in Cinemablend

“One of the things that I thought was really ingenious that they did…we shot a false ending. So our last day of shooting on the show, we shot this false scene that was never gonna air to begin with … So most of the people connected to our show didn’t even know that she was gonna be in it.”

What about Tali and Tony?

The biggest questions on fans minds now will be whether Ziva’s old flame Tony and their daughter Tali come into play. The daughter does, indirectly at least, in that Ziva has not had contact with her for a long time because she has been operating in secret. She can’t risk operating out in the open, lest that potentially bring harm to her family. That’s why Ziva faked her death in the first place. 

There has been some speculation that Michael Weatherly could return as Tony. The actor has said he would like to, but NCIS has neither confirmed nor denied that he would. Since Weatherly will be busy with Bull, freeing up his schedule could be tricky, so no promises are being made. If he were returning, CBS would probably keep that under wraps too.

In the meantime, bated breath is being held for Ziva’s return. She’ll be back not only for the first two episodes of the season, but more episodes later on.