‘NCIS’: How Will Ziva’s Anxiety Impact Her Relationship with Tony and Tali?

During “NCIS” season 17, episode 10 (titled “The North Pole”), we learn more about what Ziva’s (Cote de Pablo) life was like when she was in hiding. One thing she reveals is that she struggles with anxiety. Ziva said her panic attacks began after she is forced to send Tali away.

Ziva was in the middle of a crowded market when she had her first panic attack. Ever since then, she has difficulty being in crowds and she is haunted by flashbacks of traumatic moments from her years in hiding. “The first time it happened was in a crowd, in a market,” Ziva says to Gibbs. “It was the worst moment of my life, and you know that’s saying a lot,” she adds. Ziva also tells Gibbs that panic “strikes whenever it wants,” which is why Odette sends Bishop in Ziva’s place so she can go into a crowded night club to retrieve a drive.

Ziva says anxiety has become one of her demons

Cote de Pablo and Michael Weatherly on NCIS. | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images
Cote de Pablo and Michael Weatherly on NCIS. | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images

During one of their conversations, Gibbs sees Ziva holding pills. She quickly puts them away, but Gibbs later asks her about it. Ziva explains the pills are for anxiety. “One of my demons has become anxiety,” admits Ziva. She says the pills help “quiet” her demon. We learn earlier in season 17, episode 1 (titled “Out of the Darkness”) that Adam gives her the pills after she tells him she doesn’t feel like herself.  

Ziva faces her biggest fear 

Cote de Pablo and Michael Weatherly |  Cliff Lipson/CBS via Getty Images
Cote de Pablo and Michael Weatherly | Cliff Lipson/CBS via Getty Images

Ziva is resilient, but when her family is in danger, she begins to crumble. She has no choice but to go into hiding and send Tali to Tony. She becomes vulnerable and her situation takes a great toll on her mental health. Even Odette realizes Ziva’s ordeal will not leave her unscathed. “That kind of separation from what the heart holds dear takes its toll in many ways,” she tells Bishop.  

Ziva’s worst fear is the harm or loss of Tali and Tony. “NCIS” executive producer Steven D. Binder told “TV Insider” this fear “handicapped her superpower.” Ziva is known for being strong and fearless, but the possibility of her biggest fear coming true weighs on her heavily.

How will Ziva’s anxiety affect her relationship with Tony and Tali?

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

Anxiety can affect many areas of your life, especially relationships. Will Ziva’s anxiety negatively impact her relationship with Tony and Tali?

We think it’s possible Ziva might be afraid to be separated from Tony and Tali once they are reunited. Developing separation anxiety would make sense considering everything Ziva went through to make sure her family was safe. Consequently, Ziva might be fearful for Tony and Tali to be out of her sight for an extended period. This might put some strain on those relationships. Ziva’s gut-wrenching decision to leave her family will likely have a long-lasting impact.

Will Ziva get help?

For Ziva to have a healthy relationship with her family, she will need to get help from a mental health professional. It will be difficult for her to move past this trauma and live the life she wants if she doesn’t seek treatment. Even if Ziva decides to see a professional, this doesn’t mean the anxiety will automatically disappear. She will see improvement, but this is something she will have to continue to manage.

It looks like Ziva will eventually get treatment for anxiety. During season 17, episode 1, Ziva tells Adam she is weak and that she’s not herself. However, Adam corrects her by defining what true weakness is. “Weakness is not accepting help when you need it, my friend.”

Read more: ‘NCIS’: Ziva Is Back. How Are Phineas and Sarah Involved?

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