NCIS Ziva Alert: Did Gibbs Actually Know She Was Still Alive?

ncis ziva cote de pablo cbs
(Image credit: CBS)

After dropping some hints that maybe Ziva might still be alive throughout Season 16, NCIS ended the season with the shocking reveal of Ziva in the flesh... or so it seemed. When she walked down into Gibbs' basement, it was entirely possible that she was just the latest of Gibbs' hallucinations. Well, considering she'll apparently have a big part to play in the Season 17 premiere, we can safely say that she wasn't a figment of his imagination and will be back. But did Gibbs know she was alive?

Although Ellie Bishop was the key agent involved with the mystery of Ziva's potential survival, Gibbs wasn't unaware that things were seemingly afoot with the woman who supposedly died years before, leaving Tony a single dad to the daughter he hadn't even known existed. Gibbs came across as genuinely sad at the reminder that she'd "died," and I took that to mean that Gibbs at least thought she was dead. Then again, he didn't look all that shocked to see a "dead" woman walk down into his basement to deliver a warning. So what gives for Gibbs?

Well, we don't know just yet, but whether Gibbs knew and -- perhaps more importantly -- when he knew will be covered in the Season 17 premiere in September. Although NCIS co-showrunner Frank Cardea didn't spill all the details fans are dying to know, he did tease to TVLine what brought Ziva back into the fold after so many years away:

[The threat] harkens back to Ziva's death and why she went into hiding.

Curious! Ziva seemingly died back in Season 13, leaving her daughter without a mother and prompting Tony to resign from NCIS to care for her, despite the fact that he didn't even know about the child until Ziva was already gone. Ziva was staying in a farmhouse in Israel when it was destroyed in a mortar attack that was ordered by a former CIA agent. That former agent was shot and killed by NCIS, so Gibbs can't be in danger from him.

If Gibbs did know that Ziva was alive before the clues started dropping in Season 16, and if the others find out about it, Gibbs might have some questions to answer from some upset agents.

Ducky, McGee, and Palmer were all in the mix during Ziva's time with NCIS, and they're still on the show. Vance undoubtedly would have wanted to know the truth. Honestly, even if they aren't on the show anymore and at least one of them is very unlikely to return, Tony and Abby would have wanted to know!

Of course, the return of Ziva and the fact that Tony didn't leave NCIS with quite the finality of Abby could mean that there's hope for them after all. Hey, if NCIS: Los Angeles could give its flagship couple a big happy moment, why can't NCIS do it?

I doubt Cote de Pablo is returning as a regular, and CBS brought Michael Weatherly's Bull back for a new season despite the allegations against him, so he won't be available to even recur as Tony. NCIS could reunite them in an episode, help them get past issues that must be there after Ziva's been faking her death for a few years while Tony mourns and raises their daughter, and then send them off into the sunset! Weatherly does seem to be kinda sorta hinting at a return.

NCIS kept such a tight lid on Ziva's return that even a member of the cast didn't know about it until the episode aired, so I wouldn't count on something as huge as a Tiva reunion leaking early. Fortunately, the wait for the new season isn't too much longer. Find out when NCIS and its two spinoffs return to the airwaves with our 2019 fall TV premiere schedule!

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).