‘NCIS’: Cote de Pablo’s Return in the Season 17 Premiere Sounds Amazing

Can a show generate excitement with just one photo? NCIS sure can, even though the photo reveals very little. That’s because the photo depicts the first table read for season 17 of the show and it’s getting fans excited because the season premiere will reveal why Ziva David (Cote de Pablo) has returned to the show. 

What makes the situation even funnier is that the actress isn’t in the photo at all — probably on purpose.

Cote de Pablo
Cote de Pablo | Jacopo Raule/Getty Images

Wilmer Valderrama shared a behind-the-scenes look from ‘NCIS’

As reported in Cinemablend, Wilmer Valderrama, who plays Special Agent Nick Torres, posted a photo on Instagram with this caption: 

Aaaaaaannnd we are back on set, the first table read for NCIS Season 17th. This season premiere is [fire emoji]. (One word… Ziva.)

The only thing is, de Pablo is nowhere to be found and neither is Mark Harmon, who is the only other character to see her return. It’s not clear if they simply weren’t in the shot, or if they weren’t in the room at all. 

Either way, it’s a good bet that Valderrama and the other cast members are likely bound by a non-disclosure agreement. We can rest assured that no one is allowed to say anything about Ziva David — not even the actress who plays her. De Pablo has said absolutely nothing about her return and probably won’t until after her storyline is resolved. 

Someone somewhere will probably wonder: “If Ziva isn’t in the photo, does that mean she’s a ghost?” The question isn’t as far-fetched as it sounds, because the season 16 finale also showed Gibbs talking to the ghost of his dead wife Diane. 

Will Ziva David be back for one episode or more? 

We very much doubt Ziva is a ghost or other hallucination because we know the character will come back. Long before Valderrama posted his picture, producers already confirmed that de Pablo would return to continue her story. What they didn’t say is how long she would stay, but at least one site says that de Pablo will not be a series regular again. 

This will no doubt disappoint many fans who waited six years for their favorite character to return. De Pablo left the show in 2013, and viewers were told Ziva died in a mortar attack. While her body was never found, what was found was a note she left behind that she was in hiding to keep her family safe.

Since Ziva was willing to come out of hiding, something very serious must be afoot. And since de Pablo had agreed to return, the writers must have come up with something very good. 

Why Cote de Pablo left ‘NCIS’

The actress was initially vague about the reasons for her departure, saying it was for personal reasons. She later specified that she had been unhappy with how the scripts handled her character. 

She revealed: “They were going to send [Ziva] back to Israel and make her a sad, miserable woman. I said, ‘What do I leave all the women that are watching and following the show?’ And I didn’t think it was fair. So, I said, ‘Unless someone can really write something fantastic, I won’t go back.”

The actress had not been very visible since leaving the show, with her most prominent role being in the movie The 33 about a real-life mining disaster in Chile, and that was meaningful to the actress because she’s Chilean-American. 

In effect, we have a double mystery on our hands: Why did Ziva David resurface, and what persuaded de Pablo to return to her former show? The show certainly went to extraordinary lengths to keep her reprise under wraps, even going so far as to film a false ending. 

Fans must be in for a real treat when NCIS returns Sept. 24.