‘NCIS’: Cote de Pablo Said She Didn’t Care If People Liked Her as Ziva David

NCIS” star Cote de Pablo first played the character Ziva David back in 2005. Here’s why de Pablo once said she didn’t care if people liked her as Ziva.

Cote de Pablo brought energy to the ‘NCIS’ cast

Mark Harmon and Cote de Pablo on NCIS. |  Greg Gayne/CBS via Getty Images
Mark Harmon and Cote de Pablo on NCIS. | Greg Gayne/CBS via Getty Images

During a discussion about “NCIS” season 3, William Webb, director of photography, told CBS that de Pablo brought a whole new energy to the team when she first joined the cast. He said she brought something different after Sasha Alexander left the show. “The dynamics changed a lot since Sasha [Alexander] left,” said Webb. “Cote de Pablo, Ziva David, is a whole different personality. And she brings a very unique energy to the set. It’s changed, sure it changes. And that’s a good thing too. The characters, the attitudes, the personalities, and how they mix.”  

Sean Murray says Cote de Pablo didn’t replace Sasha Alexander

Mark Harmon, Sean Murray, and Cote de Pablo |  Michael Yarish/CBS via Getty Images
Mark Harmon, Sean Murray, and Cote de Pablo. | Michael Yarish/CBS via Getty Images

Sean Murray, who plays agent Timothy McGee, says de Pablo didn’t necessarily replace Sasha Alexander (she played agent Kate Todd) back in 2005. He told CBS adding Ziva’s character was more of a way for the show to take a different direction. “Some people think of it as replacing the Kate character, but I think Kate was her own deal,” Murray said. “And the Ziva David character is very, very different. But we lucked out. Nothing against Sasha Alexander’s Kate Todd. That was its own thing. But I think we made the most of a situation.”

Why Cote de Pablo didn’t care if people liked her as Ziva David

Cote de Pablo with the NCIS cast. | Greg Gayne/CBS via Getty Images
Cote de Pablo with the NCIS cast. | Greg Gayne/CBS via Getty Images

When de Pablo first joined the “NCIS” cast, she knew exactly how she wanted to portray Ziva David. In 2005, the actress told CBS she was not concerned with whether viewers liked her. Rather, she wanted to play a character with depth:

I never came in with the intention of people liking me. I was trying to portray, like I said before, a three-dimensional character. If [Ziva] came in and she was ambiguous, then so be it. It’s a part of the character you’re getting to know at the very beginning. And hopefully, you’ll get to see different sides of this character.

 My objective was not to be liked, ever. If people liked me, fantastic. But I’m not trying to please people. I’m sure I’ll tick people off at times, because I want to tick people off at times. And I want to make people cry at times, and I want to make people laugh at times. And the great thing about our TV and being on a show for a long time, is that you get the luxury of being able to explore every day.

‘NCIS’ creator Donald Bellisario knew Cote de Pablo was perfect for the role of Ziva right away

Donald Bellisario, creator of “NCIS,” told CBS he knew de Pablo was the right fit as soon as he saw her audition tape. He said he liked that she had a bit of an edge to her personality. “I was looking for someone that would have the sensibilities not necessarily of an American female, but of a European. And we were close to going with a girl when my casting director, Susan, came in and said: ‘I want you to look at this tape; I just got it.’ And there was something very interesting about her. She had an attitude.”

Read more: ‘NCIS’: Why Cote de Pablo Finds Ziva Fascinating

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