‘NCIS:’ What Would Convince Cote de Pablo to Return as Ziva?

Cote de Pablo was and still is, a fan-favorite when it comes NCIS. While the actress hasn’t been on the show since 2013, she joined the series in 2005, as former Massad officer Ziva David, and quickly made an everlasting impact on fans of the show.

While Cote de Pablo was not with the cast from the beginning – as the show premiered in 2003 – she is often remembered as an original member, constituting one of the several individuals contributing to this show’s rapid growth and seemingly interminable success.

Cote de Pablo
Cote de Pablo | Photo by Jacopo Raule/Getty Images

From her playful dynamic with Tony DiNozzo – a slow boil that eventually led to a highly-anticipated romantic relationship – to her combat finesse, quick-thinking skills, and mistaken idioms, it was impossible not to fall in love with Ziva. Thus, many fans continue to question whether the star will make a return?

As recent episodes indicating that Ziva is still alive continue to be at the center of discussions surrounding NCIS, fans wonder if the writers are merely toying with fans’ emotions (as they do so well), or if someone has contacted Cote de Pablo to make a small appearance or a major return to the show.

The question is: if those behind the production truly wanted Ziva back, what would it take to convince the actress behind the iconic character to return? Let’s go through the needed tools of persuasion.

Would more money be enough to bring Cote de Pablo back to ‘NCIS?’

While many would assume that enough money would solve the problem, decisions are rarely that simple. Given what Cote de Pablo has said in the past regarding the role, it’s unlikely that her decision merely came down to financial compensation. It’s likely that she also wanted to flex her acting muscles in more emotionally demanding roles or work within the entertainment industry behind the camera.

Cote de Pablo is currently busy co-producing a new show along former NCIS star Michael Weatherly titled MIA. Following NCIS, Cote de Pablo quickly jumped into new projects; she starred in a miniseries called The Dovekeepers, as well as The 33 and Prototype. Cote de Pablo is also set to star in an upcoming movie titled Seneca, which is currently in post-production.

So, it seems that Cote de Pablo’s schedule would have to open up a bit, regardless of how much money she was offered to return to NCIS. Furthermore, the character would likely have to see some big-time changes.

Ziva would need to be given a more intriguing narrative arc and complex character profile

When Tony DiNozzo, Ziva’s love interest, died, Cote de Pablo’s true opinions – ones that she had been keeping largely under wraps – came to the forefront. When asked if she would return for his exit, Cote de Pablo stated:

“I worked eight years crafting this character and loving her. I felt or I perceived that the character was not being treated with the respect that I thought she deserved so no money in the world (would make me stay).”

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Based on Cote de Pablo’s comments, it’s clear that Ziva David never received the treatment that Pablo expected her character to eventually earn. Though such a vital character on the show, even major fans of series admit that more could have been offered up on this front.

Pablo continues to explain that it would take some really fantastic writing to bring her back to the show. So, are the writer’s penning her grand return: an entrance of a lifetime with a narrative destined to be complex, intriguing, and suspenseful? Fans can dream, but, as of now, the actress seems committed to a few other projects. Yet, the door is now open!