NCIS keeps bringing up Ziva David during Season 16, but is there any hope for a story beyond the hints and teases? Co-showrunner Steve Binder spoke on the status of Ziva David's story, and promised that the show isn't just speaking her name for no reason.
It's such a great thread, I'd hate to leave it on the table. But like anything, we don’t just want to tease the tease. If we do pull at it, we're going to have something interesting behind it, and not just keep doing the same beat over and over again. ... I don't want to say 'the sky’s the limit,' but given that she’s been gone for years, there’s a lot that could have happened that could be fodder for us, even if she’s not necessarily present.
After she was originally thought to be dead, Ziva David appeared back in the NCIS universe to read a poem to a criminal that was at the center of an unsolved case she was a part of long ago. Though she didn't appear on-screen, her actions were discovered by Bishop, who was then left a message by Ziva to keep her living presence a secret for the safety of her family.
Ziva was mentioned again in an episode a couple months later, in which Bishop offered to clean out the character's office for Gibbs. The move ensured Gibbs won't stumble upon anything that might reveal Ziva is alive, but also present Bishop with an opportunity to uncover more clues about Ziva's whereabouts. As Steve Binder told TVLine, it's about seeing what the audience wants to see, and seeing if it makes sense or they can make it stick.
At the moment, it appears many NCIS fans are interested in seeing Cote de Pablo appear in the flesh to reprise her role, although there's been a question whether or not that's something the show can pull off. The actress left the series on shaky terms, and while she's trying to get a show off the ground at CBS, there's been no indication she's interested in coming back.
Additionally, there's a question of what Ziva's return would look like, given a chunk of her story was intertwined with another NCIS character, Tony. Fans would go gaga for a Tony and Ziva return, but it stands to reason whether NCIS could get both Michael Weatherly and Cote de Pablo on board for a relatively small storyline. Given Weatherly's involvement in Bull, and Cote de Pablo's continued silence on the storyline, in person cameos feel unlikely.
Of course, NCIS has managed to progress Ziva's story thus far without the actress, so it could continue that path and still give the character an arc that is rewarding to fans. Perhaps the team will thwart some operation that effectively ensures Ziva can go out of hiding, and live in peace with Tony and their daughter. It wouldn't be as cool as this in-the-shadows almost Batman-like lifestyle Ziva's been living, but a good conclusion to two important characters' stories.
NCIS and all of its Ziva teases continue on CBS Tuesdays at 8:00 p.m. ET. Stick with CinemaBlend to see where the adventure heads, as well as updates on other television and movie news.