‘NCIS’ Season 17: Has Ziva’s Beloved Personality Changed?

In the last season of NCIS, fans saw Ziva David (played by Cote de Pablo) seemingly come back from the dead after being gone for six years. During season 11, Ziva decides to hide out in Israel to escape a group of terrorist. Later, it is implied that Ziva is fine and well — Bishop (Emily Wickersham) finds a letter proving she’s okay — but fans don’t see her.

Then, during the finale of season 16, fans find out that Ziva is, in fact, alive and well when she made a visit to Gibbs (Mark Harmon). When it comes to the beloved character of Ziva, the creators of NCIS seem to really love to play with fan emotions. 

This season, Ziva returned to the show in the season premiere. But at this point, no one really knows for sure how many episodes she will appear in. While the creative team mentioned she’s in four, she is rumored to appear in five episodes. But many fans hope that the number will increase.

Because Ziva has gone through so many changes in her life, many fans are wondering if her personality will be completely different from the one that we have grown to know and love. So, has Ziva changed?

What is Ziva David’s story?

Cote de Pablo as Ziva David on NCIS.
Cote de Pablo as Ziva David on NCIS. | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images

We were first introduced to Ziva David when she appeared on the show in season 3. Back then, she was an Israeli Mossad officer that worked as a liaison officer for the organization and was assigned NCIS. During season 6, Ziva was captured by Somalians. She was eventually rescued by NCIS and chose to leave her position with Mossad and join the NCIS team.

Ziva was a valued member of NCIS. While fans loved to see her as a crime-fighting NCIS agent, what was even more entertaining was her relationship with a fellow agent: Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly). 

Ziva and Tony had a complicated relationship that was filled with a lot of romantic tension. There was obvious chemistry between the two characters from day one. But because of Ziva’s trust issues and Tony’s problem with commitment, the couple’s relationship seemed to move at a snail’s pace.

Then, in season 11, Ziva flees the country after a terrorist group comes after NCIS. When Tony finally finds Ziva, she tells him that she is going to stay in Israel and no longer want to be an NCIS agent.

Ziva is presumed to be dead

After living in Israel for a couple of years, the NCIS agents get word that Ziva had been killed in a mortar attack. Fans were still trying to process that devastating news when a bombshell was dropped and we had learned that Ziva not only had a secret daughter, named Talia, but that Tony was actually the father of the child.

After Tony had learned that he had a daughter, he resigned from NCIS so that he could care for the child and find answers about Ziva’s death.

Ziva’s return: Has she changed?

Three seasons later, Eleanor Bishop receives a letter from Ziva that confirms that Ziva is still alive but would like to remain hidden because her family could be in danger if anyone were to find out that she had not been killed during the attack. Even though fans knew that Ziva was not dead, they were still shocked, and delighted, to see Ziva walk through the door at the end of the season to warn Gibbs of the danger that he may be in.

Recently, Cote de Pablo (Ziva) and Mark Harmon (Gibbs) had sat down for an interview to talk about some of the changes that fans can expect to see with Ziva.

“Cote in some ways plays a very different character,” Harmon told CBS. “She’s been on her own for a long time.”

Harmon had also suggested that the change in Ziva’s personality may also change the relationship that she has with the other characters on the show.

“Gibbs is not accustomed to change, and they already threw a lot of change at him last season,” Harmon continued.

Pablo added: “It’s not a given that [the characters] are going to be exactly who they were… Ziva is used to working by herself, and all of a sudden she is trying to tell Gibbs what to do. They haven’t seen each other for a long time and have to find trust again.”

It should be very interesting to see exactly how Ziva has changed and became more independent as de Pablo’s episodes air. Season 17 of NCIS is premiered on September 24, on CBS.