‘NCIS: Hawaii’: Would Cote de Pablo Return as Ziva David to Lead the Team?

NCIS has another spinoff in the works, and the rumors are swirling about who will lead the new team. NCIS: Hawaii is reportedly close to receiving a direct-to-series order from CBS. As a result, fans are hoping for the return of some favorite characters.

One name that has come up often is Ziva David. That begs the question – could Cote de Pablo possibly return and lead the new NCIS team?

'NCIS' stars Cote de Pablo and Michael Weatherly on set in 2009
‘NCIS’ stars Cote de Pablo and Michael Weatherly | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images)

‘NCIS’ fans thought Ziva David was killed off the show

De Pablo first appeared on NCIS in season 3 as a Mossad agent who would eventually take over for agent Todd (Sasha Alexander). During the next eight seasons, Ziva became one of the most popular characters on the procedural.

As Carter Matt points out, she brought the action and the drama, as well as the humor and heart. Fans couldn’t get enough of her flirtatious relationship — and eventual romance — with Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly), a duo they christened #Tiva.

But by season 11, de Pablo was ready to leave the show. She appeared in two episodes to wrap up her storyline before saying goodbye. Then in season 13, Ziva was apparently killed off screen in a mortar attack on her home in Israel.

Tony DiNozzo left to ‘look for answers’ about Ziva’s death

At the end of season 13, it was time for Weatherly to say goodbye to NCIS. He was an OG of the series, who’s character had been introduced back in 2003 during the JAG backdoor pilot.

DiNozzo left NCIS when he found out that he and Ziva had a daughter, Tali. His goal was to spend more time with her and “look for answers” about Ziva’s apparent death. That was how writers took the character off of the series. Weatherly was moving on to his own series, the legal drama Bull.

RELATED: ‘NCIS: Hawaii’ Will Include Some of the Team From the Canceled ‘New Orleans’ Spinoff

For five seasons, Weatherly has played trial science expert Dr. Jason Bull. But according to Monsters and Critics, the ratings are down significantly in season 5. CBS has yet to renew the series for another season.

Cote de Pablo appears to have zero scheduling conflicts with the ‘NCIS’ spin-off

NCIS fans were shocked when Ziva appeared out of nowhere at the end of season 16. As it turned out, she was pretending to be dead in order to protect her family. She later returned for a few episodes in season 17. But that’s the last time fans have seen her, despite high hopes that she would be back once again during the current season.

Showrunners Steven D. Binder and Frank Cardea confirmed that de Pablo wouldn’t be back in season 18 due to the small number of episodes and current storylines. But, that doesn’t mean that there’s not a big plan going on behind the scenes for something bigger.

According to de Pablo’s IMDB page, she doesn’t have any new projects in the works. For many fans, the lack of projects means she’s available. Could it be an indication that de Pablo will soon be leading the team in the new NCIS spin-off.

Could Ziva and Tony be part of the ‘NCIS’ team in Hawaii?

When Ziva left NCIS the last time, she returned to Paris to be with Tony and Tali. Now, fans believe there’s a good chance that both Ziva and Tony could be back together for NCIS: Hawaii.

“Michael Weatherly is talking further #Tiva adventures,” one fan tweeted. “If Bull gets canceled let’s have this very special agent head his own team on the new NCIS Hawaii. We could find out he’s been working for them for years in a different capacity when in Paris.”

RELATED: Would ‘NCIS: LA’ Star Eric Christian Olsen Jump Ship to Join the ‘Hawaii’ Spin-Off?

Could Ziva and Tony reunite on-screen in Hawaii for the new spin-off? It’s definitely a possibility. But, CBS would have to cancel Bull first for that to happen.

Ziva doesn’t really need Tony, though

For both Ziva and Tony to return together for NCIS: Hawaii, CBS would first half to cancel Bull. But, if they just want Ziva as the team leader all by herself, that could be an even more likely scenario.

However, the project is still in early development and no casting decisions have been revealed. Insiders say they are still staffing the writer’s room and looking for a pilot director. Fans will just have to stay tuned to find out if Tony and/or Ziva will be back.

NCIS airs Tuesday nights on CBS.