‘NCIS:’ Why Cote de Pablo Slapped Michael Weatherly During Her Audition

Cote de Pablo and Michael Weatherly starred on NCIS together from 2005 until Pablo left the series in 2013 to pursue other opportunities. While going on to star in The 33 and The Dovekeepers (following her successful run on the hit CBS show), Cote de Pablo failed to make a name for herself outside her career-catalyzing run as Ziva David.

Cote de Pablo and Michael Weatherly
Cote de Pablo and Michael Weatherly | Photo by Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images

Whether Pablo came back to the show because the writers promised Ziva the complex narrative she deserves, or to place herself back in the spotlight – and try to gain traction once more – remains anyone’s guess. However, let’s hope it’s the former, and Ziva has one amazing narrative arc coming in season 17.

Cote de Pablo and Michael Weatherly’s chemistry on ‘NCIS’

Since Cote de Pablo returned during the final moments of season sixteen, fans have been wondering if Michael Weatherly will also reprise his role as Tony DiNozzo. While on the show together, Cote de Pablo and Michael Weatherly offered fans palpable on-screen chemistry.

Boasting one of the longest-lived slow-boiling romances in all of television history, DiNozzo and David had viewers eating out of their hands. When they finally sealed the deal, the international fanbase erupted with excitement.

While it’s still unclear whether Weatherly will return to the CBS procedural, fans know that if he did, the chemistry would immediately sink back in. For, from the very start, Cote de Pablo and Michael Weatherly were bringing the dynamic that made “Tiva” such an intriguing duo.

Inside Cote de Pablo’s audition for ‘NCIS:’ Why she slapped Michael Weatherly

During an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Cote de Pablo explained how she and Michael Weatherly got off to quite the interesting start. They made assumptions about each other, which proved to be false and generalizing, yet also sensed an “immediate attraction.”

Cote de Pablo explains to the interviewer that Michael Weatherly went completely off-script, and she thought he was trying to “sabotage” her audition; thus, when he tried to touch her, she slapped his hand away. She explained to Entertainment Weekly:

“Michael and I clicked immediately. We sort of hated each other immediately and loved each other immediately. I walked into the audition and he thought, Oh my god, she’s gonna be so hard to work with. She’s so complicated. And I thought, This guy’s so incredibly unprofessional. During the audition, he grabbed my hair. He would not follow the lines. He totally went off script and started improvising, and this was my final audition with the heads of CBS. I thought, This guy is sabotaging my audition. So immediately I went, Oh, I’m gonna show this guy. I’m gonna show him. So he tried touching me, and I literally like [mimes slapping his hand away]. That relationship was established the moment that we met. Nothing changed, it was just enhanced. And we loved each other as well. We realized we’re so drastically different and so much alike that there was an immediate attraction.”

Entertainment Weekly

Cote de Pablo stated that her “relationship” with Weatherly was “established the moment that [they] met,” which is likely why their dynamic was so captivating for nine seasons. During their screen test, they discovered the dynamic that would exist as the foundation for their entire relationship narrative arc.

Cote de Pablo denied Weatherly’s off-script advances, just as Ziva would go on to (initially) reject DiNozzo’s advances. However, there was no denying that an immediate attraction existed, fueling the development of a strong off-screen relationship, which translated beautifully to NCIS. However, both stars have confirmed (more than once) that they are only close friends who respect and admire one another.