Will ‘NCIS’ Season 17 Set Up A Spin-Off For Cote De Pablo And Michael Weatherly?

We are only a few months away from the Season 17 premiere of NCIS and fans are already thrilled about seeing Cote de Pablo return as Ziva David. NCIS producers have confirmed that Ziva will appear in the opening act of Season 17, and there are new rumblings that de Pablo and Michael Weatherly are set to land their own spin-off on CBS. Could Season 17 of NCIS setup a future series for Ziva and Tony?

'NCIS' star Michael Weatherly and Cote de Pablo
‘NCIS’ star Michael Weatherly and Cote de Pablo | Photo by Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images

Ziva returns to ‘NCIS’

It is no secret that Ziva is one of the most beloved characters in the history of NCIS. This is why fans had a difficult time accepting her departure after Season 11. When Weatherly left the show a few years later, we learned that Tony and Ziva had a daughter together. Although everyone presumed Ziva died in a bombing raid in Israel, she returned in a big way in the Season 16 finale, setting herself up for an epic reunion with Tony next season.

In the episode titled “She,” Ziva appeared at Gibbs’ (Mark Harmon) home to warn him about a serious threat. Her cameo proved that she faked her death to keep her family members safe. We first learned that Ziva was alive earlier in the season when Bishop (Emily Wickersham) discovered her secret office.


Unfortunately, Ziva’s scene was very brief and we still do not know where the writers are taking her story. We do know, however, that she will make another appearance in the opening installment of Season 17, which is super exciting.

What’s ahead for Ziva?

According to Business Times, Ziva will be back in action next season, but to what extent remains a mystery. More than likely, she will assist the team in neutralizing the threat on Gibbs’ life. Beyond that, there is no telling if Ziva is coming back as a regular or recurring character. If the threat is the reason why Ziva went into hiding in the first place, then it is possible that a solution means she can reunite with her daughter and Tony.

If that happens, then we might get a Ziva and Tony reunion in Season 17. Apart from a potential reunion, producers have teased that Ziva will play an important role in the series moving forward, a promising sign for the fan favorite.

Weatherly has not revealed any plans to return to NCIS. The actor left the show after Season 13 and is currently starring on his own series, Bull. If he does return to reunite with de Pablo, and she only comes back as a recurring character, it is possible that CBS grants them a spin-off.

CBS has launched a few NCIS spin-offs over the years, including NCIS: Los Angeles and NCIS: New Orleans. A show centered on Ziva, and Tony would likely be just as successful as the rest.

Producers keep Ziva’s return hidden

Ziva’s appearance in the final scene of Season 16 shocked most NCIS fans. Although her name kept popping up throughout the season, fans thought she would return in Season 17 at the earliest. As it turns out, producers kept Ziva’s return a secret to the cast as well, and most of them learned about her cameo a few weeks before the finale aired.

In fact, producers went into stealth mode when they filmed Ziva’s lone scene in Season 16, and the only other cast member who knew about it was Harmon.

After most of the cast and crew finished filming their scenes for Season 16, producers held back a small skeleton crew to shoot Ziva’s scene. They also snuck de Pablo into the studio via the backdoor and shot her scene after everyone else had gone home of the night.

They also wrote a fake ending so that the other cast members would never suspect anything was amiss. Although they worked hard to keep Ziva’s return off the books, their efforts paid off in the end.

Season 17 of NCIS is scheduled to premiere Sept. 24 on CBS.