‘NCIS’ Writers Just Attempted to Improve Bishop’s Standing with Fans: Here’s How

A few seasons back, NCIS introduced Eleanor Bishop. She came onto the scene, analyzing masses of papers spread out on the floor— drawing connections between distant, seemingly unrelated factors — to put the puzzle together. She had big shoes to fill as Ziva David’s replacement, but things were looking okay at the start.

Emily Wickersham Eleanor Bishop NCIS
Emily Wickersham as NCIS Special Agent Eleanor “Ellie” Bishop | Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images

Bishop had some promise. She was not Ziva 2.0. She was an agent with her own shtick — a shtick that, with time, would hopefully develop into a characterization. Bishop was shaping up to be the sleuth among the field agents. However, after a few episodes, the writers kind of lost their way. Bishop became similar to the others; she began losing her identifying qualities and fans began to complain about the character’s lack of purpose, lack of individuality, and so on and so forth. Fans even deemed the character “bland” and “annoying” in online discussions.  

In short, Bishop’s journey on NCIS has been met with mixed audience reception, and it looks the writers may have decided to use Ziva — a beloved fan favorite — to improve Bishop’s standing among fans. Let’s dive into the last episode of NCIS season 17, “In the Wind.”

‘NCIS’ 17, Episode 12: Ziva says goodbye

During the episode “In the Wind,” Ziva David bids her fellow NCIS agents farewell…once again. However, this time, fans receive the heartfelt goodbye (to the extent expected from Gibbs) between Gibbs and Ziva that they were robbed of the first time out the gate. Ziva makes her way around the room, making sure to say goodbye to Torres, Hines, McGee, and Bishop as well.

When Ziva says goodbye to Bishop, she makes sure to give the agent a pat on the back. Ziva, doling out one heavy-handed compliment, states, “Agent Bishop, if I may, you have not filled my shoes, you have overgrown them.” And, the two end their time together with a professional handshake — accepting equal standing among the team (one’s life remains tied to the past, while the other’s to the present). 

Why Ziva’s interaction with Bishop is so consequential 

NCIS just implemented the oldest trick in the book. If you want fans to like a character, use a character they already love to establish the desired emotional reaction to the new character. However, is it a bit too little too late?

If they want viewers to hate a character, all the NCIS writers have to do is imply Gibbs doesn’t trust him/her. Why do you think the recent twist with Phineas and his mom worked so well? Trust, understanding, and respect between characters often rub off on viewers at home. 

Considering Bishop is Cote de Pablo’s replacement, many fans will never fully accept the character, deriding that she will never be Ziva David; she will never rival the former Mossad agent who fans fell in love with. However, this was clearly a little attempt by the writers to increase Bishop’s standing on the team. 

Ziva’s appreciation and respect mean a great deal — to her fellow agents and to the viewers at home. Will this work? It all depends…did it feel genuine to you? Or, did it feel like a lazy, last-minute ploy?