‘NCIS’: Could Cote de Pablo Return as Ziva Full-Time For Season 18?

Cote de Pablo’s return as Ziva David has been the most-talked about development in season 17 of NCIS. After making a big splash in the fall finale, Ziva is set to appear one more time when NCIS returns to CBS in January. Fans have loved watching Ziva return to action, but what are the chances that De Pablo comes back full-time in season 18?

NCIS Cote de Pablo
‘NCIS’ star Cote De Pablo | Photo by Jacopo Raule/Getty Images

De Pablo talks about her ‘NCIS’ return

De Pablo returned to NCIS in epic fashion at the end of season 16 and fans have been looking forward to her appearances ever since. She was heavily involved in the first two episodes of season 17 and returned for another two-episode arc that spans the fall finale and the upcoming installment in January.

When discussing her decision to return to the series, De Pablo revealed that she always held out hope that she would come back to NCIS. According to People, the actress was waiting for a good storyline to develop and wanted her character to return for a good reason.

“I hoped that at some point something like this could happen and it’s just so the stars aligned and here I am with this guy,” de Pablo shared during an interview with her NCIS co-star, Mark Harmon. “I said give me a really good reason to come back.”

The developments in the mid-season finale of NCIS has left fans hoping that a reunion between Ziva and Tony (Michael Weatherly) is still in the cards. But as far as Harmon is concerned, having De Pablo back on the set has been a huge boost to the entire cast.

“You forget the energy she brought and how special this character is in many ways and how, in so many ways, it completes the show,” Harmon stated.

‘NCIS’ execs explain why they brought Ziva back

Just like De Pablo, NCIS executive producer Steven D. Binder did not want to bring Ziva back just to satisfy fans. In a recent interview, Binder explained how they wanted to dig a little deeper into Ziva’s history and avoid a “cheap publicity shot.”

“We, as a staff, spent quite a bit of time trying to find a story that fit. We wanted it to be full,” Binder said.

So far, it is safe to say that the series has accomplished that goal. Ziva’s return has explored quite a few elements of her past, and the writers came up with an amazing way to tie everything together.

Based on Binder’s comments, it also seems like they want to tell a larger story with Ziva, which bodes well for her future in the series. Unfortunately, nobody has confirmed that Ziva will be back in season 18, so there is no telling what producers have in mind for her.

De Pablo did, however, discuss leaving the set of NCIS and revealed that she feels completely different this time around.

“It’s a different walk away and I’ll leave it at that,” she stated. “It’s a beautiful walk away.”

Will Ziva and Tony reunite on ‘NCIS’?

One thing that will probably determine De Pablo’s future on NCIS is whether or not Ziva and Tony reunite this season. Ever since she returned to the hit crime procedural, fans have been wondering when the two will get back together.

Producers have been coy about bringing Michael Weatherly back, but De Pablo recently revealed that her former co-star is definitely interested in a Ziva and Tony reunion.

“When Michael and I talk, and we talk very often, we laugh and we say, ‘Oh my god, do you think these characters will ever see each other again?’ And the answer is always, yes, we’re just wondering where and when,” De Pablo shared.

The only tricky part about bringing Tony back on NCIS is Weatherly’s schedule. The actor is currently starring in his own series, Bull, so getting the filming schedules to match up is going to be difficult.

If Weatherly does not reunite with De Pablo this season, it is safe to say that Ziva will be back in some capacity until that happens. Producers are well aware that fans want a reunion, so ending her storyline without one would not go over well.

What’s next for Ziva?

One of the biggest revelations in the fall finale of NCIS was the fact that Tony and Ziva have been in contact since her death. This means that Tony knows Ziva is still alive. It also opens the door for a future reunion, especially now that Sahar has been taken down.

We do not know if Tony and Ziva will reunite when NCIS returns next month, but executive producer Frank Cardea recently teased that fans will learn more in the coming episode.

Cardea stopped short of confirming anything, and Binder teased that Tony and Ziva’s relationship is a little more complicated than what they can cover in a single episode.

“In terms of the effects on the relationship going forward, that’s a trajectory that wouldn’t be answered in one episode anyway,” Binder explained.

The producers did not say anything about De Pablo returning as a full-time cast member after season 17, but there is little doubt that fans are all for it.

NCIS is slated to return to CBC on January 7.