‘NCIS’: Why Cote de Pablo’s Return Could Last Longer Than You Think

One of the biggest speculations for the upcoming 2019-2020 season is whether Cote de Pablo will become a permanent cast member again on NCIS. If you think this tidal wave of speculation has superseded chatter about returning (or new) shows, it could lead to a lot or nothing.

After some analysis, you might be able to argue de Pablo returning as Ziva David will become more than just a brief cameo. New evidence from NCIS showrunners says she’ll definitely be involved as a guest star for a while. However, we have a feeling anything further will be based solely on viewer/fan response.

Take a minute to see what might happen and if de Pablo can finally take her career to overdue superstar heights.

Cote de Pablo will return for the Season 17 premiere

Cote de Pablo
Cote de Pablo from NCIS | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images

During the summer, you can expect all remaining NCIS fans to speculate whether Ziva’s sudden appearance to Gibbs during the season finale was real or a fantasy. More than likely, it was real since we’ve received confirmation she faked her death to protect herself from a terrorist group.

Further speculation about her entering the picture again entails a lot of wild theories. One thing for sure is it pumps new and adventurous life into an ancient TV drama. Considering the Ziva character was arguably the most popular of any NCIS cast member a decade ago, having her back will likely push ratings to numbers the show hasn’t seen in a while.

According to the show’s producers, Ziva’s appearance is only the beginning. They note she’ll play a big part in the first episode of Season 17. What they don’t say is how long this will extend, even if “only the beginning” is an obvious clue.

Then again, it might not extend through the entire season, unless de Pablo made a deal with the writers to finally bring real value to her character.

The public’s response to Cote de Pablo will be interesting to gauge

A major problem with bringing back characters after years away from a show is they sometimes change from how fans remembered them. Ziva had a certain appeal fans found intoxicating. She was a mix of a superstar model combined with being a badass special agent. Plus, her personality was always winning, if ultimately being taken for granted (the reason de Pablo left).

Now that she’s faked her death and coming back with a different frame of mind, what kind of a person will she be? Did the writers alter her personality to fit this new narrative? Nobody can really be the same after going undercover for six years and suddenly going back to the life they had before.

Ziva will likely be a different person in more ways than one, which can sometimes be disconcerting. Fan response to this will be worth measuring, and it’s probably NCIS’s litmus test for de Pablo returning.

Even if they just give her a few episodes to close out her story, the respect she desired for the character will no doubt be front and center.

The producers might be surprised at the response to Cote de Pablo’s return

If de Pablo worked closely with the writing team to reinvent Ziva, there might be a lot of pleasant surprises in store. We’re not convinced the writing team truly understands their women characters either since NCIS has always been marketed as an alpha male dominant show.

Ziva might have new personality traits and revelations that creates a huge groundswell of popularity. It might even be more than the producers bargained for, forcing them to make her character permanent again.

Whether de Pablo will want to is another thing due to the risk of being known for nothing else, and soon becoming a TV producer. Should Ziva be her only success, becoming a successful TV producer would at least keep her name out front without having to constantly hustle as an actress.