The 3 People Cote de Pablo Met With Before Returning to ‘NCIS’

Cote de Pablo starred in NCIS as Special Agent Ziva David from 2005 until 2013. David was integral to multiple character dynamics and the show’s ever-developing narrative. She boasted a father-daughter dynamic with Agent Gibbs (Mark Harmon), a sibling-like bond with McGee (Sean Murray), and a TV-famous, slow-boiling romance with Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly).

Though Cote de Pablo was vital to the show for seasons on end, she departed with little notice at the beginning of season 11; she stayed long enough to finish off her character arc. And, when Cote de Pablo left, she didn’t seem committed to a return, as she grew disappointed with the writers’ plans for Ziva.

Cote de Pablo NCIS
Cote de Pablo in ‘NCIS’ | Erik Voake/CBS via Getty Images

Though the NCIS lead went on to star in The 33 and The Dovekeepers, she has since returned to NCIS, satisfying Ziva enthusiasts spanning the globe. And, it’s likely that the way she was pitched had something to do with her decision to reprise her role, as it was quite an intimate affair.

Cote de Pablo met with Frank Cardea, Steve Binder, and Mark Harmon before returning to ‘NCIS’

Though Ziva left in 2013, and an on-screen explosion led many to presume she was dead, her body was never shown on the screen. And, as is often the case in TV, “no body, no crime.” Thus, de Pablo’s return as Ziva David was, to an extent, narratively plausible.

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Yet, regardless of the plot plausibility, de Pablo needed to know her character would receive the justice she deserves. And, a meeting with the show’s executive producers and lead star Mark Harmon must have gone well. As noted in CinemaBlend, not many got together with de Pablo at first. Producer Frank Cardea noted:

She decided to come out and actually meet with us. We had a clandestine meeting with Steve and I and Mark Harmon. It was like she had never left.


The meeting went well, and de Pablo went on to reprise Ziva David in a glorious fashion. Her character received just enough spotlight, and just enough development to further build upon and provide closure surrounding her relationship with Gibbs. And, when Ziva returned to the set, she was welcomed with open arms. In discussing her return to the series, de Pablo said: 

They were waiting for me, standing up, and they clapped as I went in. I think I said something along the lines of, ‘Woo-hoo, I’m back!’ It was great.


Hopefully, Cote de Pablo returns in the upcoming season alongside Michael Weatherly’s Tony DiNozzo. This way, fans can finally receive the “Tiva” reunion they’ve been anticipating for seasons on end.