‘NCIS’ Season 17: Mark Harmon Says Ziva Has Changed

Cote de Pablo returned to NCIS in the final moments of the season 16 finale and catalyzed a worldwide screech of excitement — emanating and echoing across the globe — from the show’s unprecedented international fanbase. Appearing at the top of Gibbs’ stairwell, she hurried into the cellar to warn her former boss of imminent danger. Gibbs, with one word, “Ziver,” expressed a sense of simultaneous shock and happiness, as Mark Harmon closed out the season. 

Mark Harmon and Cote de Pablo NCIS
Mark Harmon and Cote de Pablo in ‘NCIS’ | Photo by Michael Yarish/CBS via Getty Images

With Cote de Pablo back to helm the upcoming season’s narrative, reports indicate that the actress will appear in four episodes throughout the seventeenth season. With Ari-related threats still lingering, Ziva and Gibbs enter danger head-on, and anything is possible.

Though Cote de Pablo is back as Ziva David, her character may not appear all too familiar to fans of the series (who have been following the show since its early years). While the butt-kicking competency will remain unscathed, other attributes will receive needed alterations. 

Mark Harmon explains how Cote de Pablo’s Ziva will be different this time around

During an interview with TV Guide and reported by TV Insider, Mark Harmon and Cote de Pablo sat down to discuss the upcoming season — their relationships and their respective roles in the unfolding plot. 

Though excited to work together once more, and easily finding their groove as co-stars, both actors explained that their on-screen dynamic has faced some needed adjustments, following Ziva’s absence (and the nature of her disappearance). Harmon and De Pablo were asked, “With Ziva taking the lead because of her intel, are their typical father-daughter roles reversed?” Cote de Pablo stated:

It’s not a given that they’re going to be exactly who they were. We have different ideas pretty much the entire episode. Ziva is used to working by herself, and all of a sudden she’s trying to tell Gibbs what to do. They haven’t seen each other for a long time and have to find trust again. 

TV Insider

Supporting Cote de Pablo’s statement, Mark Harmon jumped in to explain how Cote de Pablo’s “new” Ziva differs from her older television persona, and how such an adjustment will undoubtedly affect the man who does not handle change well. Hamon stated:

Cote in some ways plays a very different character. Ziva is older, more experienced. She’s been on her own for a long time. Gibbs is not accustomed to change, and they already threw a lot of change at him last season. 

TV Insider

Mark Harmon and Cote de Pablo go on to discuss their on-screen dynamic, and what it has been like to work together after all these years. Both actors explain that they understand each other very well, and know what it means to co-star on this show; thus, finding their way once again proved quite seamless (despite Cote de Pablo’s several year absence). Cote de Pablo reminisces about the early years — when she felt “discombobulated” — and explains that Mark Harmon always knew when something was good to go in NCIS