‘NCIS’: Is Cote de Pablo’s Ziva Really Back For Good?

NCIS has created many fan-favorite characters during the show’s many years on the air. One of the most popular characters is definitely Ziva David, the Israeli officer played by Cote de Pablo for over eight years.

While it seemed like de Pablo might have left the show for good in 2013, the May 21st season finale of NCIS gave viewers a surprise that will keep them talking for days. Is Ziva really back for good?

What is ‘NCIS’ about?

Cote de Pablo is Ziva again!
Cote de Pablo is Ziva again | Munawar Hosain/Fotos International/Getty Images

NCIS premiered in September 2003 and was an instant hit for the CBS network. The show follows a dedicated crew of special agents from the real-life Naval Criminal Investigative Service. In the years the show has been on the air, it has become one of the most-watched dramas of all time, with millions of viewers staying tuned to current episodes and binging on past seasons as well.

One reason for the show’s immense popularity is the realistic way the characters are written. Although Leroy Jethro Gibbs, played by Mark Harmon, is the lead, a few of the other favorite characters include Abby Sciuto, played by Pauley Perrette, Anthony DiNozzo, played by Michael Weatherly, and, of course, Cote de Pablo as Ziva David.

Why is Ziva such a fan favorite?

The character of Ziva David first appeared in season three of NCIS. Viewers followed Ziva’s journey from Israeli citizen to liaison officer, to eventually being sworn in as a United States citizen. Cote de Pablo’s portrayal of the tough yet sensitive agent made her a firm favorite with viewers everywhere, and critics praised the complex way that she was written.

In addition to her moving journey on the show, Ziva David became one of the first Israeli women portrayed in a popular television show. For this reason, she was an incredibly important addition to the show, and actress Cote de Pablo became one of the most-watched women in America. Fans were heartbroken when, in 2013, showrunners announced that de Pablo would be leaving the show.

In a later interview, de Pablo revealed that her decision to leave the show was due to the fact that she didn’t agree with some the creative decisions being made for her character. She admitted that she had such love for the character of Ziva that she felt protective of her, and would rather leave the show than being forced to take the character down a path that she didn’t think would do her justice. 

Is Ziva back on the show to stay?

While there has been speculation for some time that Ziva David would return to NCIS in some form, there had been no confirmation from producers or from de Pablo. The season 16 finale of NCIS proved a major shocker when in the final few seconds of the show, Ziva shows up in Gibb’s basement and tells him that he’s in danger. The episode ends before clarifying whether Ziva David is back in the flesh, or is just a dream that Gibbs conjures up in his mind.

Good news for fans, it seems as though the character might be back for good, or at least in some capacity. Following the May 21st finale, the writers of NCIS released a statement that revealed Cote de Pablo would return in the season 17 premiere as a guest star, set to debut on television in the fall. While the cryptic statement doesn’t tell fans much about Ziva, it does at least let them know that they will be able to see more of the beloved character in only a few short months.

Stay tuned for all the latest NCIS updates and be the first to know when the season 17 premiere date is announced!