‘NCIS’: Did Cote de Pablo Just Leak That She’ll Be Back for 5 Episodes?

NCIS returned on September 24th and fans can’t wait to see what happens to their favorite characters. Most of the buzz is centered around the highly-anticipated return of Ziva David, played by Cote de Pablo.

It was the reveal of the year when Ziva made a surprise appearance at the end of season 16, warning Gibbs (Mark Harmon) about the unspecified danger ahead. Ever since, viewers have been debating just what Ziva will be doing in the newest season, and exactly how much screen time the fan-favorite character will receive.

Recently, de Pablo let slip a hint about how many episodes she will be appearing in, and her comments have caused a fever pitch in the fandom.

What can fans expect from Ziva’s return?

Cote de Pablo as Agent Ziva David on CBS' NCIS.
Cote de Pablo as Agent Ziva David on CBS’ NCIS. | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images

Ziva’s return in the final few seconds of the NCIS season 16 finale ignited a firestorm of social media excitement. Her appearance was just brief enough to leave everything to the imagination, but fortunately, fans would learn a little bit more in the months following the big reveal.

Most of Ziva’s storyline on the upcoming season remains a complete mystery. Still, fans have a wish list of things that they would like to see. At the top of that list, a reunion between Ziva and Anthony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly), whose romance was such a major part of the early days of NCIS. As far as the extent of Ziva’s involvement in season 17, there are a few more details.

‘NCIS’ showrunners said that Ziva would be in four episodes total

In late August, NCIS showrunner Frank Cardea revealed that Ziva David would be in four episodes in season seventeen: two “early on” and two in the fall/winter. Cardea also stated that Ziva’s appearance would tie into the “lore” of NCIS, meaning that the storyline involving Ziva will indeed be something truly special.

It’s certain that de Pablo is more than ready to revive the iconic character — the actress has said that she’s “very excited” to return, and stated that she almost felt a little “jittery.” She also said that coming back to the set to play Ziva felt like a homecoming, in a way.

Still, Cardea might not have revealed the whole truth in his summer interview. Recently, de Pablo opened up about her work on the new season, letting slip a major detail about the extent of her appearances on the show. 

Cote de Pablo might have spoiled a surprise

In a brand-new interview, de Pablo talked about what fans can expect when season seventeen of NCIS debuts on September 24th. She revealed that has already shot three episodes and has two more left to film. Frank Cardea stated earlier that Ziva would only be in four episodes, and now, with the new information de Pablo gave, it seems as though fans might get an extra episode with Ziva. On the other hand, maybe she was including her brief appearance at the end of Season 16.

It is possible that the plan was originally for de Pablo to only appear in four episodes, but the storyline got extended in some way, pushing her total episode count to five. Whether or not Ziva will continue to make brief appearances throughout the latter end of season 17 remains to be seen. In any case, it’s hard to imagine having to say goodbye to Ziva, especially after only 4-5 episodes.