NCIS Stars Return For Season 17 Premiere: 'One Word ... Ziva'

NCIS Mark Harmon Gibbs Cote de Palbo Ziva CBS

It's happening! NCIS Season 17 is now in session. The stars just gathered for the first table read of the season, and it sounds like the premiere will very much focus on Cote de Pablo's Ziva David, which is exactly what fans want after that Season 16 finale Ziva twist. Here's what NCIS star Wilmer Valderrama (Nick Torres) teased with a post on the 2019-2020 season:

Aaaaaaannnd we are back on set, the first table read for NCIS Season 17th. This season premiere is [fire emoji]. (One word... Ziva.)

Nice! NCIS fans are looking forward to hearing more words on the subject. Cote de Pablo has been confirmed to guest star in the NCIS Season 17 premiere this fall "as Ziva’s warning to Gibbs unfolds." That was the word from the producers, and it remains all we know so far. Will Ziva be around for more than just the premiere? Was she just a figment of Gibbs' imagination, since the rest of the Season 16 finale showed him talking to the ghost of his ex-wife Diane?

Maybe. However, NCIS Season 16 had already set up a possible Ziva return by having Ellie Bishop (Emily Wickersham) find a note which seemed to reveal that Ziva was in fact alive this whole time.

Cote de Pablo left NCIS in Season 11, citing "political things and the scripts not being good enough," adding, "I worked eight years in crafting this character and loving her, so when I felt or I perceived the character was not being treated with the respect that she deserved, all the money in the world couldn't buy [me]."

NCIS went to great lengths to keep Cote de Pablo's Season 16 return a secret, even fooling cast members with a false finale ending.

Now fans are thrilled to hear more of Ziva's story -- even wondering if there's hope for Tony (Michael Weatherly) and Ziva after all. But first we have to learn more about this danger she came to warn Gibbs about. Hopefully it's not all in his head, since that would be quite a letdown.

Whatever happens in NCIS Season 17, it at least has Wilmer Valderrama excited, as he shared in his Instagram photo from the first table read:

A photo posted by on

We don't see Cote de Pablo in that photo, or Mark Harmon for that matter. It's possible they are on the other side of the table. Sneaky sneaky.

Fans had hope but weren't sure if they'd ever see Ziva again, since she was presumed dead. One character NCIS fans should definitely not expect to see again is Abby Sciuto, who is still alive but left NCIS to start a charity in Season 15. Actress Pauley Perrette wanted to leave the show, and apparently her reasoning was tied at least in part to co-star Mark Harmon.

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NCIS fans have a lot to look forward to in Season 17, and CBS can probably expect big ratings for the premiere, now that fans know Cote de Pablo will be in the episode. NCIS Season 17 premieres Tuesday, September 24, 2019 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

Gina Carbone

Gina grew up in Massachusetts and California in her own version of The Parent Trap. She went to three different middle schools, four high schools, and three universities -- including half a year in Perth, Western Australia. She currently lives in a small town in Maine, the kind Stephen King regularly sets terrible things in, so this may be the last you hear from her.