‘NCIS’ Season 17: Everything We Know About Cote De Pablo’s Return as Ziva David

Most NCIS fans thought we had seen the last of Cote de Pablo’s Ziva David a few years ago, but that all changed when the actress returned for a surprise cameo in the season 16 finale. Ziva’s shocking return has sparked a lot of questions about season 17. Why did Ziva fake her death? How many episodes will she appear in this season? Will we get a Ziva and Tony (Michael Weatherly) reunion?

NCIS Cote de Pablo Ziva
‘NCIS’ Cote de Pablo (Ziva) | Photo by Erik Voake/CBS via Getty Images

Producers have been very secretive about not releasing details regarding Ziva. But thanks to some early leaks, we actually know a lot about where Ziva’s story is heading in Season 17. Here’s everything we know about Pablo’s epic return as Ziva on NCIS.

Ziva set to return in a big way

We first learned that Ziva was alive when Bishop (Emily Wickersham) uncovered her secret while looking into a cold case. In the final moments of season 16, Ziva confirmed Bishop’s suspicions when she showed up inside Gibbs’s (Mark Harmon) home to warn him about a threat.

Pablo’s cameo was very short, but NCIS producers later revealed that she will play an important part in the season 17 opener. Turns out, Ziva’s involvement in season 17 extends well beyond the confines of the premiere.

According to Country Living, Ziva will appear in a total of four episodes in season 17. The storyline in the premiere is expected to span two episodes, which accounts for half of Ziva’s appearances. The character will then go on a hiatus before returning for an installment in the fall and another one in the early winter.

There is no telling why Ziva is going to return for two more episodes – especially if she and Gibbs eliminate the threat in the premiere – but it sounds like Pablo’s involvement might increase as the series heads into season 17 and beyond.

‘NCIS’ teases Ziva’s return in season 17 trailer

The season 17 trailer for NCIS actually tells us a lot about Ziva’s storyline. The clip features Ziva and Gibbs escaping from a mysterious woman called Zahar, who could be a part of the threat Ziva warned Gibbs about last season.

We also get a glimpse of the other agents reacting to the fact that Ziva is alive and well. This includes Torres (Wilmer Valderrama), who is genuinely surprised to see Ziva in the flesh, and McGee (Sean Murray), who appears a little hurt that he did not know about Ziva’s true fate.

Regardless of the reactions, the trailer confirms that Ziva will come clean to the rest of the team this season. That does not mean that Ziva is going to be back for good, but it is definitely a step in the right direction.

It could also mean that the team is going to help her get rid of the threat, which should allow her to come out of hiding. If that happens, there is a strong chance that Ziva will get to reunite with family, including her former flame, Tony DiNozzo, and her daughter.

Producers open up about Ziva’s return

Aside from the trailer, NCIS executive producer Steven Binder recently opened up about the decision to extend Ziva’s involvement next season. According to Brink Wire, Binder revealed that they wanted to give Ziva more screen time because they felt like her story was too big to tell in one or two episodes. They also wanted to ensure that her story made sense to fans, so instead of coming up with something new, they dug into the character’s past for a story arc.

“One of the things that we wanted to do was not just create something out of whole cloth where you’re like ‘huh?’” Binder shared. “So when we came up with this backstory, we laid a little pipe ourselves once we knew we had Cote…”

Binder added that they did not create a new conspiracy for Ziva and that her storyline in season 17 will tie into a previous plot. This could be related to why she faked her death and went into hiding.

Binder did not go into any specifics, but he did tease that Ziva’s family will play a big part in her story. He also did not confirm that Weatherly will be back in action, though the actor has not ruled out reprising his role.

Season 17 of NCIS is scheduled to kick off September 24.