The chemistry between Cote de Pablo and Michael Weatherly during NCIS‘s golden age is undeniable and pined for by fans for the last six years. When both left the show, most fans thought NCIS was never the same. Now with de Pablo returning at the beginning of the 17th season — and Weatherly rumored to return as well as Tony DiNozzo — it’s worth looking back to what made their fictional relationship so interesting.
Their mutual sexual tension was the best on TV within the last decade. However, they were just good at interacting during dramatic moments. Many NCIS fans have their favorite episodes with the two together. Here’s our Top Four list for those of you still relatively new to the Ziva/Tony romance.
Season 3: ‘Bait’
On Reddit, someone made a list of the best episodes de Pablo and Weatherly acted in together with terrorist themes. Someone in the comments noted all the episodes with them together had these themes, including plenty of shootouts.
Bait is cited as one of the best with not only action but also the witty dialogue between Ziva and Tony. By the third season, the two were already having romantic feelings. Their repartee on the show was always fun, and you get a lot of it in the Bait episode.
The plot revolves around a Marine’s teenage son who goes to school with a bomb strapped to his body. He demands to see his mother who’d actually died a year earlier. Tony and Ziva work this case, and we see their winning banter, including Tony’s standard movie references. Tony tells Ziva a movie reference she couldn’t think of was related to the movie Speed.
3. Season 3: ‘Hiatus’ Part I and II
In this two-part episode at end of the third season, fans saw Gibbs (Mark Harmon) escape death by a hair when a terrorist bomb goes off on a ship. Most of this episode is him having hospital flashbacks to his late wife and former life. Because he’s incapacitated, Tony and Ziva take over Gibbs’ main duties.
As you might guess, the camaraderie between Ziva and Tony is top-notch here, including a lot of funny comebacks from Ziva. One argument ensues about Tony comparing the Gibbs situation to plot development in the film The Usual Suspects.
Ziva apparently never saw the film and thinks his reference to Keyser Soze is an actor. Despite this frustrating interaction, their witty arguments were why people tuned in.
2. Season 7: ‘Truth or Consequences’
For many fans, this is the ultimate Tony and Ziva episode on an emotional level. Truth or Consequences was a sober seventh season premiere after hearing news Ziva’s been kidnapped by a terrorist organization.
You may remember this plot where DiNozzo, Gibbs, and McGee hear tragic news Ziva was possibly killed by a Middle Eastern terrorist organization. The plot involves the three guys going to enact revenge on those responsible for her death.
Don’t mistake this episode for later events when Ziva is thought to have really died. Once they find her in this episode, the interactions with Tony display their magic all over again. Ziva returns back to the fold, albeit after being savagely beaten by the terrorist leader.
What we don’t want to see in Season 17 is the idea of Ziva being a mere figment of Gibbs’ imagination after all the build-up of her being alive all along.
1. Season 9: ‘The Missionary Position’
This episode took place mostly in Colombia, about 2,700 miles away from de Pablo’s real hometown country of Chile. A Navy Chaplain goes missing in Colombia where the team goes to search.
Fans loved this episode because it gave Ziva and Tony a chance to take on another international case. Ziva’s mentor manages to join in to prevent the two from being together every minute.
Should there ever be a Ziva/Tony spinoff show, this episode gives you a preview of what could be. CBS might have to pay de Pablo and Weatherly an untold fortune to make such a thing happen.