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One of the most highly-anticipated returns of the fall TV season has to be NCIS thanks to the cliffhanger that saw Ziva emerge alive and in the flesh in Gibbs' basement. We now know that Ziva will be around for several episodes of Season 17, which means that there should be plenty of time for key questions to be answered. Some of the biggest questions surround Ziva's relationship with Tony, who may believe she's dead while he raises their daughter. But is that the whole story?
Well, although viewers won't find out for sure until NCIS returns and starts dropping some details, co-showrunner Steve Binder promised in a chat with TVLine that "answers will be forthcoming" about where Tony is and whether Tony is involved in Ziva staying hidden. Unsurprisingly, Binder didn't reveal what's going to happen, what Tony has to do with Ziva in the present, and if Michael Weatherly is reprising the role in Season 17, but the new hints do suggest that fans (including me) may have been wrong in some of their assumptions about Ziva.
At first, it seemed like pretty much everybody thought Ziva was dead until she left that note for Bishop in Season 16, and it wasn't even confirmed she was alive until Cote de Pablo strolled down the steps in Gibbs' basement in the finale. In Michael Weatherly's final episode of NCIS back in Season 13, Tony clearly believed that Ziva had genuinely been killed in the farmhouse explosion in Israel, which resulted in the discovery that Ziva had given birth to his daughter without telling him.
He left NCIS to focus on raising young Tali, and he hasn't returned since, although Anthony DiNozzo Sr. has appeared. Tony made contact with the team off-screen in Pauley Perrette's final episode, when he called McGee to check on Abby after she was attacked, so he hasn't been as off the grid as Ziva. Did Ziva reach out to Tony some time after he left NCIS to raise their daughter at the end of Season 13, and he knows she's alive? Could they have already had their big reunion?
While Tiva fans might be disappointed that they'd been denied an epic on-screen reunion after Tony spent years thinking Ziva was dead, I'd be happy to learn that Ziva was able to see Tali over the past few seasons. Tali was so young when Ziva "died" that she might not even remember her mom if she hasn't seen Ziva since then! The explosive trailer for Season 17 did indicate that Tali is very much on Ziva's mind.
We'll have to wait and find out what happened and is happening with Tony and Ziva; the bigger question to ponder at this point might be if there's a chance for Michael Weatherly to return for an on-screen reunion between the two former agents, perhaps even with their daughter on hand.
Michael Weatherly will presumably be busy with his own show, as Bull was renewed for Season 4 despite the troubling allegations made against him by former Bull actress Eliza Dushku. That said, Bull and NCIS both air on CBS, and Weatherly probably wouldn't be needed for a whole lot on NCIS if the show just wants to deliver a reunion. Notably, Weatherly didn't rule out a return when asked recently.
Ziva and NCIS will return to CBS on Tuesday, September 24 at 8 p.m. ET as part of the stacked fall TV lineup.