‘NCIS’ Season 17: Is Cote de Pablo Guest Starring or a Series Regular?

The sudden return of Ziva David (Cote de Pablo) in the last few minutes of NCIS‘s 16th season finale wasn’t necessarily a shock based on all the marketing since the Super Bowl.

Even so, some fans were wondering if it was just a tease rather than being real. Once Ziva was seen walking through a door and greeting Gibbs in the show’s final moments, even the latter seemed shocked she was real and not a ghost.

While we knew Ziva was alive for the last six years since her abrupt departure, we might see a different character if she’s intended to be a permanent part of NCIS next year.

Will she be a regular again, or is this just another TV attempt at blurring the lines between reality and fantasy?

It’s possible Cote de Pablo worked hard with writers to reinvent Ziva

Cote de Pablo
Cote de Pablo plays Ziva in NCIS | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images)

We’ve written here recently about why Cote de Pablo originally left NCIS, citing unhappiness at how little value Ziva was given by the writers. In the last six years since de Pablo left, she’s tried to progress her acting career in other projects, but found little success.

Now we wonder if due to fan demand, she managed to wrangle a deal via working more closely with the NCIS writing team. Is it possible she agreed to return as Ziva only if she’d consult on bringing respect to the character?

Then again, maybe there had to be a compromise in not giving de Pablo too much control. Even if you can look askance at such an action, it may mean Ziva isn’t necessarily going to be a regular.

If not, let’s ponder whether it’ll be one of the best sendoffs for a woman character in TV history.

Maybe a temporary storyline would keep Ziva in everyone’s memory forever

There is such a thing as having a character return and be taken for granted all over again. While it’s unlikely NCIS will go on for another decade, you never really know. It continues being profitable across the board for CBS. Should Ziva return as as regular, she very well could be a strong part of the show for the next five years.

Or, maybe de Pablo compromised with the writers to just return temporarily to give her a chance to redeem what the writers didn’t provide in past years. It’s already a big deal Ziva faked her death to help solve a complicated case. Never have we seen a character return on these kind of plot terms without it being a “jump the shark” scenario.

There’s more logic to Ziva’s story here and why she’d go through such an elaborate scheme. No doubt she wouldn’t be the same kind of person returning, creating a fascinating look at the evolution of a special agent.

As such, we’d also see a woman character receive major respect for choosing to risk her own life, relationship, and career to solve a years-long case.

Are there any clues to what de Pablo’s involvement will be?

The only way to glean any clues to what Cote de Pablo will do with NCIS is to look ahead at what her future projects are. A major clue to de Pablo not becoming a NCIS regular again is a deal she made with CBS to produce a new series for the network. Michael Weatherly will be joining her as co-producer for a series called MIA, making it possible they’ll be too tied up doing this.

Beyond no movies on her slate, producing a new TV show is possibly all the evidence fans need Ziva is just going to be on NCIS temporarily. Unless producing MIA will merely be her cushion while NCIS is on its last legs.

Should her appearance be temporary, Ziva will be appreciated all the more, outside of fan demands that now move mountains based on social media responses.