‘NCIS’: Fans Call The Show’s Greatest Villain ‘Creepy’ and ‘Complex’

While many NCIS fans are thrilled with the return of Ziva David (Cote de Pablo) for the hit show’s 17th season, and there are certainly some unanswered questions left in her story that fans want to be answered, fans still remember her villainous brother: Dr. Ari Haswari (Rudolf Martin). The infamous arch-nemesis of Agent Gibbs (Mark Harmon) has been gone since the show’s third season, but many fans still recognize him as the show’s greatest villain.

Mark Harmon, Sean Murray, Michael Weatherly and Cote de Pablo on CBS' 'NCIS.'
Mark Harmon as Agent Gibbs, Sean Murray as Agent McGee, Michael Weatherly as Tony DiNozzo and Cote de Pablo as Ziva on CBS’ NCIS. | Robert Voets/CBS via Getty Images

Who was Ari Haswari on ‘NCIS’?

A rogue Israeli-born Mossad officer, Haswari was a dangerous terrorist and the arch-nemesis of NCIS Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs. 

Debuting in Season 1’s “Bête Noire,” Haswari made an entrance with his mission to recover the body of a terrorist named Kasam. Haswari was also to gather intel for a bioterror attack.

Haswari infiltrated the NCIS autopsy unit and ends up taking Ducky (David McCallum), Gerald (Pancho Demmings), and Agent Caitlin Todd (Sasha Alexander) as his hostages. He is able to escape dressed as an FBI hostage team member but not before shooting both Gerald and Gibbs in their shoulders.

It wasn’t until Season 2’s “Twilight” that Haswari makes himself a primary target of the team. He assassinates NCIS Special Agent Caitlin Todd, also known as Kate, by shooting her in the head with a sniper rifle. Kate died instantly and her loss devastated the team. Gibbs vowed revenge for her death by any means necessary.

In Season 3’s “Kill Ari Part 2,” NCIS and federal agencies don’t believe Haswari was responsible for Kate’s death which frustrates Gibbs. Ziva, however, starts to suspect her brother is guilty. In a final confrontation with Gibbs, Ziva — Haswari’s half-sister and fellow Mossad Officer — kills him.

Fans in various forums still name Haswari as one of the best villains of the show because he was so complex and real. His obsession with Kate and his enjoyment of annoying people set him apart. Fans also enjoyed the fact that the character made an impact on the NCIS team long after his death.

Why do ‘NCIS’ fans like Ari Haswari as a villain?

Haswari was a sociopath with little empathy due to his upbringing in a brutal world, losing his beloved sister Tali at the age of sixteen in a terrorist attack, and the actions of his father. He had no regret for his actions and showed no mercy to his victims. 

Haswari also had no problem killing the innocent. He’d kill those trying to help him if it meant achieving his end goal. Ducky thought that Haswari was possibly a sadist, someone who felt pleasure from the torment of his victims. The man was tall and attractive, with high intellect and strong analytic skills. He was a skilled marksman who had experience with a wide variety of firearms and weapons.

Haswari is played by actor Rudolph Martin, who has a long resume of work in television in shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dexter, and Mad Men. Fans can see him in the upcoming film Ford v Ferrari starring Matt Damon, Christian Bale, and others.

Ari Haswari’s legacy on ‘NCIS’

Even though he was only actually on the show for a brief period of time, Haswari left his lasting, negative mark on Gibbs and the entire NCIS team. Ducky, Gibbs, and Tony all came to loathe him.  

The final report on Haswari’s death claimed Gibbs, not Ziva, killed Haswari and was sent to Mossad. The actual circumstances were kept a secret to protect Ziva from accusations down the road. But Haswari’s story didn’t end there.

During the final confrontation with Gibbs, Haswari explained that his father never knew Haswari had turned against him. He regretted only that he wouldn’t be able to see the “bastard’s” face when Eli David discovered he hadn’t crafted a son but had created a monster.

Four years following Haswari’s demise, show director Leon Vance explained that Eli David knew of his son’s betrayal. Vance revealed that Eli David had ordered Ziva to dispose of her brother. He’d explained to her that it would earn her Gibbs’ trust and it would eliminate a rogue Mossad agent.

What is Ziva’s future as the latest season continues? How is Zahar related to Ziva and Haswari. And, most importantly, what does she want?