The One Big Way Cote de Pablo Identifies With Her ‘NCIS’ Character Ziva

The character of Ziva David, with her sweet personality and confusion of American culture, captured the hearts of NCIS viewers. When the actress that played her, Cote de Pablo, decided it was time to move on from the role in 2013, fans were heartbroken.

Although the show has gone on without her, she was always missed. Recent rumors that de Pablo may be returning for the 17th season have viewers excited, but there are still questions around her new role. No one seems to know whether she will be returning for good, or only for an appearance after making her brief debut in the season 16 finale.

In the meantime, interest in de Pablo has soared. By looking back at her past interviews about the character, we may be able to figure out how Pablo is feeling about her possible return to NCIS

How Cote de Pablo identifies with Ziva David

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

There are some big differences between de Pablo and her NCIS character, Ziva David. For example, David is Israeli, while de Pablo is from Chile. They’re from completely different cultural backgrounds. Although, they are both immigrants to America, so they do have some shared experiences.

In her 2012 interview with Prevention, de Pablo was asked in what ways she identifies with David. The actress replied:

“My character’s strength is like mine,” Pablo said, “to a completely different degree. Losing family members because of a war… I have moments when I just have to hold my heart. But I also have to remember that if I played the character from my point of view, she’d be falling apart all the time. She has to keep it together–it’s the world she grew up in.”

De Pablo makes a good point. Ziva David grew up in a war-torn country, and she had to develop immense strength because of it. She doesn’t have the luxury of breaking down every time something terrible happened to her, or she would be a mess all the time. Most Americans are not able to relate that since we are lucky to live in a fairly safe country. The fact that de Pablo was able to play the character of Ziva David with such success, says a lot about her acting skills. 

Cote de Pablo’s background offers her acting opportunities 

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Coming from a Latina background in Hollywood has its hardships, but it also has benefits. Because of her dark features, de Pablo is able to play characters from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds without much difficulty. In the Prevention interview, she described an event where she was approached by an Israeli actress, who told her that she could easily pass for Israeli.

The other actress also mentioned that her friend was playing a Latina character, although she was also Israeli. “And that’s the beauty of it,” de Pablo said. “If you can convince the people you’re supposed to convince that you are whatever it is that you’re playing, well, that’s your job, isn’t it?”

Will Cote de Pablo return to ‘NCIS’ for good?

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Although there are plenty of opportunities for Latina actress in Hollywood right now, when de Pablo left NCIS in 2013, she wasn’t able to find another role that offered her the same level of success as the character of Ziva David. Because of this, fans believe de Pablo may be more willing to return full time. Unfortunately, the only way to know for sure is to wait until September, when season 17 premieres