‘NCIS’ Fans Reveal The All-Time Funniest ‘Ziva-Isms’

From her fearlessness and combat prowess to her loyalty and compassion, finding reasons to love Ziva David (Cote de Pablo) is effortless. The NCIS character came onto the show in the season three premiere episode “Kill Ari: Part 1,” and quickly found her way into viewers’ hearts.

Cote de Pablo as Ziva on NCIS
Cote de Pablo on ‘NCIS’ | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images

Considering Cote de Pablo was brought on to replace Sasha Alexander’s Kate Todd, she had some mighty big shoes to fill. Todd was already a fan-favorite field agent, and she had a devout following all her own. However, with a bit of butt-kicking and a few confused idioms, Ziva became a perfectly balanced and easy to appreciate character, as quirks became qualities and tendencies became behaviors. And, speaking of the American idioms she has confused throughout her time on the show, fans have a few favorites. 

When discussing favorite “Ziva-Isms” in an online discussion forum, a few seem to come up a bit more often than others. And, considering Ziva was on the show for quite a while before her eventual departure, fans have a wide pool of mistakes to choose from. So, let’s dive into the funniest ones.


1. “Can I take a bat nap?”

With just the switch of a single consonant, Ziva had the park rangers who were present bewildered. While the confused idioms are often funny, in and of themselves, the reactions she receives can also constitute a great deal of what fans remember.  She also once told Tony, “that is why it’s called a bat nap” when Tony threw a pen at her, and she caught it in her hand, despite appearing to be asleep. Her confidence really sold the moment. 

2. “Once in a Blue Lagoon.” 

How Ziva came up with this one is anyone’s guess. Ziva once had a conversation with Fornell, as a fan explains in the online discussion, during which she stated that she would hate to be misunderstood. When Fornell asked is she is misunderstood often, this was Ziva’s epic reply. The irony. 

3. “You and McGee are going though a seven-year bitch.”

Ziva once uttered this to Tony, commenting on the relationship between the two; however, Tony later corrected her, explaining that the right word is “itch.” However, Ziva’s mistake also seems quite apropos given Tony and McGee’s bickering dynamic. 

A few more memorable ones…

  • “Your American idioms drive me up the hall.” 
  • “Want me to hold your nozzle?”
  • “I hit a stone wall.”
  • “What’s wrong McGee? You look like you’ve seen a goat.”

Ziva has always had a way of making fans laugh. In dire moments, her sobriety and somber disposition are perfect; however, when NCIS needs a little comic relief, Ziva was there when Tony couldn’t be. Ziva, with confidence, messed up idioms and phrases, making each mistake funnier than the one before it.