‘NCIS’ Executive Producer on What Would Lead to Ziva Returning…Again

Cote de Pablo returned to NCIS in the final moments of season 16 and starred in a handful of season 17 episodes. The character finally received the closing arc she never got, tying loose ends in her dynamics with various co-agents. She and Gibbs got the farewell their characters warranted, as their fractured father-daughter relationship took center stage for a deep dive. Though it’s clear that Cote de Pablo possesses a willingness to reprise the character, following years away from the former butt-kicking Mossad agent, it might be some time until she suits up again, if she ever does. 

Cote de Pablo NCIS
Cote de Pablo as Ziva David in ‘NCIS’ | Erik Voake/CBS via Getty Images

NCIS executive producer talked about Ziva David, explaining how her reentrance would work in the show…again. He noted that those behind the show would not use her as a “trick up their sleeve” unless such an appearance bears narrative realism and consequence. 

Steve Binder talks ‘NCIS’ and Cote de Pablo’s Ziva David

Binder noted that, when considering whether to bring Cote de Pablo back for future episodes, a particular thought process must come into play. He told TVLine:

“It’s always going to be, ‘Let’s not grab Cote and stick her in.’ It’s, ‘Let’s come up with a story first, and see if it’s something worthy of bringing that character back.’”

In short, Ziva may be an ace in the hole when it comes to NCIS, but the proper opportunity must present itself before asking her to return. She cannot become a marketing gimmick — a tool used to reignite interest and gain back viewers. She must serve a purpose to the series, as she did in season 17. 

RELATED: Cote de Pablo Gave Mark Harmon the Credit He Won’t Take for ‘NCIS’ Success

Are there any stories looming overhead for Ziva David in ‘NCIS?’ 

Unfortunately, at the moment, Ziva’s story has come to an end. Steve Binder told TVLine: 

“We’ve really played, for now, all of the cards there are to play [with Ziva], so we have no plans at the moment.”

Steve Binder | TVLine

RELATED: Why Performing Became ‘More Important’ to Cote de Pablo When She Came to America

While Binder explains that those behind the most-watched network crime procedural would be open to bringing Ziva Back, they have nothing planned for the character at the moment. However, that doesn’t mean a story won’t present itself; maybe it’s time to knock on Michael Weatherly’s door to see if he misses Tony yet. A family in crisis, protecting one another while taking down the baddies seems like an intoxicating plotline for a future season.