‘NCIS’ Season 17: How Cote De Pablo’s Ziva David Could Stick Around Longer Than The Premiere

Most of Season 17 of NCIS remains a mystery, but we do know that Ziva (Cote de Pablo) will be back in action for the premiere. De Pablo made a surprise appearance at the end of Season 16, and the actress has signed a contract as a guest star next season. Although we know that Ziva will play a part in the opening episode, there is good reason to believe that she will be around much longer than that.

'NCIS' stars Mark Harmon and Cote de Pablo will reunite in the Season 17 premiere
Mark Harmon and Cote de Pablo | Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

‘NCIS’ could use a new team member

When you look at Gibbs’ (Mark Harmon) team, you could make an argument that they could use another set of hands. After all, the show did not replace Clayton Reeves (Duane Henry) following his death. Reeves, who died back in Season 15, was not a part of every episode, but he was important to the team. Ziva could easily do the same thing Reeves did and only appear when the team really needed her.

This would allow Ziva to remain a part of the show for as long as possible. It would also give the series time to reunite Ziva with Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly), if the actor ever decides to return for a quick cameo. That said, bringing Ziva back in a larger role would require some story development beyond the premiere.

How could ‘NCIS’ expand Ziva’s storyline?

In order for Ziva to stick around, she definitely needs to come out of hiding. For the past several years, Ziva has remained in the shadows to keep her family safe. The only people who know that she is still alive are Gibbs and Bishop (Emily Wickersham). That would need to obviously change if Ziva wants to work with the other members of the team. For now, she has only appeared to Gibbs, but we expect that to change in the Season 17 premiere.

Once the other members of the team know that Ziva is alive, the series will need to give her a reason to remain in Washington D.C. We know that Ziva has been on the run from something, so it is possible that the team offers to help her. This could turn into a larger story arc for Season 17 that would at least keep Ziva on board for an entire season. Beyond that, the show would need to come up with another reason to keep Ziva around.

Could Ziva stick around for more than one season?

At this point, it will be difficult extending Ziva’s storyline beyond Season 17. Once she eliminates whatever is threatening her, Ziva will likely return to Tony, who is no longer in Washington D.C. Unless she goes back and forth between her family and work, it will be hard for her to continue helping the team. There is also the issue of whether or not De Pablo wants to stay on the show for the long term.

Fortunately, executive producers Steven Binder and Frank Cardea have already promised that Ziva will play an important part of Season 17. According to Digital Spy, the showrunners recently teased that Ziva’s surprise appearance at the end of Season 16 was “just the beginning.” They also assured fans that she will make an appearance in the Season 17 finale, though they did not reveal anything beyond that.

What about Tony?

With Ziva clearly sticking around for another season, fans are wondering if Tony will also make an appearance. The last we heard, Tony was living in Paris taking care of Ziva’s child, and it makes sense that she would want to reunite with him once everything is safe. The only question is whether or not their reunion will take place in front of the cameras. Weatherly, who is currently starring on his own TV show, Bull, has not commented on returning to NCIS.

De Pablo surprised fans in the Season 16 finale of NCIS when she reprised her role as Ziva for the final scene. Ziva appeared in Gibbs’ home to warn him against a mysterious threat. We still don’t know what Ziva was referring to, but the series will likely pick up right where it left off in the Season 17 premiere.